Dietary fiber (DF), found in whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (WG), is considered a nutrient of concern in the US diet and increased consumption is recommended. The present study was designed to highlight this critical importance of the difference between WG, high-fiber WG, and sources of fiber that are not from WG. The study is based on the two-day diets reported consumed by the nationally representative sample of Americans participating in What We Eat In America, the dietary component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003–2010. Foods consumed were classified into tertiles of DF and WG and the contribution of fiber by differing levels of WG content were examined. Foods containing high amounts of WG and DF only contributed about 7% of total fiber intake. Overall, grain-based foods contributed 54.5% of all DF consumed. Approximately 39% of DF came from grain foods that contained no WG, rather these foods contained refined grains, which contain only small amounts of DF but are consumed in large quantities. All WG-containing foods combined contributed a total of 15.3% of DF in the American diet. Thus, public health messaging needs to be changed to specifically encourage consumption of WG foods with high levels of DF to address both recommendations.
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