Unfortunately, fiber has become the abandoned substance. According to the American Dietetic Association, most Americans “don’t even come close” to the recommended intake of 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day and actually consume about half of that (14 to 15 grams per day). This diet tragedy stems from the fact that the typical American lacks plant-based foods — legumes, peas, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables — in their daily diet regimen. To make matters worse, Americans are well-known for their over-consumption of processed and man-made food products as well as fast food. Most of these foods rarely, if ever, contain fiber in any significant amount.
"Show Me the Fiber!"
One of my favorite movies is Jerry Maguire, released in 1996, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise. It includes that great scene when Cruise asks Cuba, "What can I do for you?" And with all his "fineness" and charisma intact, Cuba responds with, "Show me the money!" Cuba, along with music and dancing, even makes Cruise yell it out a few times.
So what does this have to do with fiber? No, this was not a commercial break. As a fitness trainer, I always ask my clients to write down everything they eat for a week and during the grading process, red pen in hand, I ask them to "show me the fiber!" Just as most Americans, my clients are usually clueless as to how many grams of fiber they are consuming each day, and worse, they seldom know which foods contain fiber and at what amounts. Moreover, most Americans are not aware of the all the benefits of a high-fiber diet.
Why Is fiber important when it comes to health, wellness, and weight loss? Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: insoluble fiber (those that don’t dissolve in water) and soluble fiber (those that do). A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which is not limited to normalizing bowel movements. While research to determine whether high-fiber diets reduce the risk of colon cancer is inconclusive and ongoing, we do know that high-fiber diets have a major impact on the health of the colon — fiber plays a role in lowering the risk of common intestinal ailments like constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticular disease. Protect your colon because it is the place in which many diseases start.