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Fascinating Fiber
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Take two people of about the same age and height—one is normal weight, the other overweight. Why the difference?

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied 100 people, half in each weight category. They discovered similar diets in both camps, even in consumption of sugar, dairy products, and bread. The difference was that the normal weight people ate about 33 percent more dietary fiber and 43 percent more complex carbohydrates than those with excess pounds.

According to the authors of the study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, if we neglect to intake the recommended amounts of dietary fiber—-25 to 30 grams a day for healthy adults—here’s what we miss:

*Fiber helps lower cholesterol levels and normalize blood glucose and insulin levels.

*Fiber promotes normal bowel movements and helps prevent constipation, diverticulitis (inflammation of a bowel protrusion), and diverticulosis (the presence of many bowel protrusions). 

*Diets rich in fiber are associated with lower risk of colon cancer.

*Fiber-rich foods are generally low in calories and fats, yet bulky enough to provide a full-feeling.

*Foods that give us the most fiber—-vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts—also give us the most valuable nutrients.

Healthy Years

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, May/June 2007. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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