We've hit the Mega Millions jackpot of meta-studies. While January 1 saw a $425 million winning lottery ticket after about two months of coming up empty, this meta-study took a bit longer to make its splash.
Published in the journal The Lancet, the paper “Carbohydrate Quality and Human Health” covers 40 years of data.
Its aim? To let you know the right amount of daily fiber you need to ward off cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and Type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that 25-29 grams of dietary fiber daily produced the best outcomes. People consuming that much were 15-30 percent less likely to die prematurely from all causes, and had a 16-24 percent lower incidence of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, the average American consumes only 15 grams a day.
How can you up your intake?
Replace refined grains with 100 percent whole-grain breads and cereals. Tip: Cook whole-grain pasta, sweet potatoes, and other starches in the evening, then eat them for breakfast or lunch the next day. They become resistant starches, acting like fiber in you.
In addition, the American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that you aim for 2 cups of fruits and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 1/2 cup cooked beans daily. Your goal, they say, is to take in 5 grams of fiber in every serving of plant-based foods you eat.