EAST LANSING, Mich. -- A diet high in fiber but not necessarily one low in saturated fat or cholesterol is tied to a lower risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes in teenagers, according to new findings from Michigan State University.
A study led by Joseph Carlson of MSU's Division of Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition suggests to reduce metabolic syndrome a collection of risk factors including high blood pressure and a large waistline it is more important to emphasize diets including fiber-rich, nutrient-dense, plant-based foods than focus on restricting foods high in cholesterol or saturated fat.
The research is published in Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
"What we found is that as fiber intake increases, the risk for metabolic syndrome decreases," said Carlson, a registered dietitian and associate professor at MSU. "High-fiber, nutrient-dense foods are packed with heart healthy vitamins, minerals and chemicals that can positively affect many cardiovascular risk factors.
"It may be better to focus on including these foods than to focus, as is commonly done, on excluding foods high in saturated fat."
That does not mean, however, that teens should have carte blanche in eating foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, Carlson said.
"It is well established that saturated fat can raise bad cholesterol," he said. "What this data suggest is the importance of including foods high in dietary fiber."
With the high availability of processed foods today, Carlson said, it is possible for teens to eat a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol but that also is low in fiber and nutrient-rich, plant-based foods. Recent national data indicates up to 30 percent of teens' dietary intake comes from beverages and sugar-rich snacks.
Due to low intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, the total dietary fiber intake in teens is about 13 grams per day, well
|Contact: Jason Cody|
Michigan State University