Most teens eat far less fibre than recommended, a habit which may lead to a higher risk of diabetes and high blood pressure in the future.
Researchers from the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta University questioned 754 teens from about their eating habits on at least four separate occasions. They also tested participants’ blood pressure and blood sugar levels and looked for insulin resistance, which happens when the body is less effective at using the hormone insulin to remove sugar in the bloodstream.
Only two teens in the study consumed the minimum amount of daily recommended fibre: 38 grams for males and 25 grams for females. Overall, participants consumed an average of 10.9 grams daily.
Low fibre intakes were associated with higher insulin levels; low soluble fibre (the type found in oats, barley and psyllium) was associated with higher blood pressure.
Dietary fibre is found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. It can help people feel fuller when they eat, aiding with weight management, and it has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how fibre intake might directly impact blood pressure or risk factors for diabetes, and it also wasn’t designed to show how teen eating habits or lab results might lead to specific health outcomes in adulthood.
Teens are likely missing a lot of fibre in their diets because they consume too much processed food and not enough whole grains, fruits, and veggies, experts contend.
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