A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found a three-fold increase in the metabolic syndrome in children eating the least amount of dietary fiber when compared to the group eating the most. There were no differences when consumption of saturated fat or cholesterol was analyzed however.
The researchers recommend focusing on increasing fiber in the diet, and not worrying so much about finding low-fat foods. That does not mean teens should fill their diets with fat-filled foods, but it does mean seeking out nutrient-dense foods high in fiber.
This makes sense to me. Most low-fat foods today are those processed foods that have been filled with sugar to make up for lack of taste that comes with low-fat options. Replacing fat with sugar in foods is what has contributed to the current obesity and diabetes epidemic this country now faces. Up to 30 percent of teen’s dietary intake comes from beverages and sugary snacks. This has to change.
But change can be tough. Joseph Carlson, the lead researcher, stated, “The trick is getting people into the groove finding the foods that they enjoy and that are convenient.”
The statistics are screaming at us from many different sources. Our diets and lifestyle have to change in order for us to see significant health improvements. This begins in childhood. I recommend that adults consume at least 35 grams of fiber daily. For children and teens, I recommend adding 5 grams to their age. So a 13 year old should eat 18 grams of fiber daily. How can you add fiber back into your diet, and the diet of your family?