Eating a Diet lacking in Fiber puts Teens at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Credit: National Cancer Institute - Bill Branson (Photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - Teens are at a risk for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, because they do not eat enough dietary fiber, says researchers. The study found that 14-18 year old adolescents did not eat enough dietary fiber; they tended to have larger bellies, and their blood had increased inflammatory factors. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Dr. Norman Pollock, bone biologist at the Medical College of Georgia and the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Georgia Health Sciences University and Dr. Samip Parikh, an internal medicine resident at GHS Health System, are co-first authors of this study.

The researchers studied adolescents ages 14-18 who lived in Augusta, Georgia. Five-hundred fifty-nine (559) teens ate only one-third of the daily-recommended fiber intake. Girls have a recommended 28 grams of dietary fiber each day, while boys should eat 38 grams of fiber daily. Only one percent of the teens studied consumed the recommended amount of fiber.

Additionally, the researchers said that those who had a low-fiber diet tended to have more visceral fat. This kind of fat resides in and around the major organs in the abdomen. The low-fiber eaters also were more likely to have increased levels of inflammatory factors. This includes increased levels of cytokines, and reduced levels of adiponection.

Parikh said that they do not know why fiber helps to lower visceral fat and prevent against inflammatory factors. One idea might be that the increased stool bulk prevents digested food from staying in the gastrointestinal tract. Another idea is that fiber could help a person feel fuller and the person might decrease their overall calorie intake. A third idea might be that fiber can help absorb and remove inflammatory factors from the system.

Pollock also studied that same group of adolescents one year prior and found that those who consumed high-fructose sugars in their diet showed a relationship of having high blood pressure, fasting glucose increases, insulin resistance, inflammatory factors, and reduced levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, and lower levels of adiponectin.

The researchers say that eating more fruits and vegetables would be needed to improve dietary fiber intake in teens. Changing to a high fiber diet too quickly can cause uncomfortable side effects such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. The researchers realize how difficult it might be to change a diet to a healthier one, so they are looking to be funded for more research. If funded, they would be able to develop a more appetizing form of fiber. They envision a fiber product that could be sprinkled on food that does not typically have ample fiber.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter



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