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Nutrition Column

For disease prevention and regression look for soluble fiber in the foods you eat.

More support for a high fiber intake in fighting disease.

The praise for a diet filled with soluble fiber continues as a recently published article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported.

In a group of 152 men and women, ages 30-70, subjects who ate an oat bran cereal that contained 3 grams of water soluble fiber, in the form of beta glucan, significantly reduced their total- and LDL-cholesterol levels compared to a group who ate corn cereal that contained no soluble fiber.

Both groups followed the National Cholesterol Education Program Step 1 diet. Apparently the extra 3 grams of soluble fiber per day was enough to tip the scales and lower the subject's cholesterol levels. This is the latest in a line of studies which supports research proving that soluble fiber helps lower disease risk and fights cardiovascular disease.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences recommends 25 to 40 grams of total fiber daily. Forty, and more likely, 50 to 70 grams of total fiber will be needed to get you off and keep you off many diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease medications.

Not all cereals, or foods, are alike. Many cereals are low in fiber. Often some purported to be high in fiber and other nutrients are in fact quite low. To claim high in fiber a food need only contain 10 percent of the DV, a value of 2.5 grams of total fiber per serving. While better than none it is a far way off from the 40+ grams needed to make dramatic changes in your disease markers.

And what if you feel that most fiber fortified cereals taste like rocks or sawdust? If you already eat them for their nutritive value -definitely continue to eat them. If not, there are other options. Most fruits and oat based products contain soluble fiber as their primary form. Check the nutrient facts label to see how much soluble fiber each serving contains.

Whichever type of food you choose for your fiber intake make sure to get a sufficient amount of soluble fiber to maximize fibers health importing benefits.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 11.18.05