Category Archives: Fiber

Increasing fiber intake may lower first-time stroke risk

FoodFacts.com evaluates every aspect of the food products in our database. Fiber is an aspect that we note on the Report Card for each one. It’s been well-known that fiber intake is an important part of a healthy diet for many reasons. Consumers are attracted to products that are higher in fiber for weight and appetite control But we’ve also known that dietary fiber can help reduce risk factors for stroke and can influence blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Today we found new research that indicates that eating more fiber can decrease the risk of an initial stroke. Dietary fiber is the part of the plant that the body doesn’t absorb during digestion. Fiber can be soluble, which means it dissolves in water, or insoluble.
This new study found that each seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake was associated with a 7 percent decrease in first-time stroke risk. Researchers noted that this seven-gram increase could be satisfied easily with one serving of whole wheat pasta and two servings of fruits or vegetables. This is especially important for those with pre-existing stroke risk factors like being overweight, having high blood pressure or smoking.
The research analyzed eight previous studies conducted between 1990 and 2012. These studies focused on different types of stroke, with four of them specifically focused on ischemic stroke (occurring when a clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain). Three of them were focused on hemorrhagic stroke (occurring when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain or on its surface). Findings from all the studies were combined and other stroke risk factors were considered.

The American Heart Association recommends a daily fiber intake of at least 25 grams daily. That can be achieved through six to eight servings of grains and eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables. Most Americans do not consume the recommended level.
Stoke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. It accounts for over 137,000 deaths annually and is the leading cause of disability for stroke survivors.

FoodFacts.com wants to remind our community of the importance of our daily fiber intake. It’s not that difficult to achieve increased fiber consumption. This study indicates that by increasing our daily fiber we can decrease our risk of ever experiencing a stroke, prolonging our life and living healthier.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130328161434.htm

Chia, the hottest newest health trend

FoodFacts.com has a very clear memory of the first time we ever heard of Chia. It was on television commercials advertising a unique novelty plant called a Chia Pet. It took off right away … and was spun off into many different forms. The original pet was a ceramic animal with seeds that a person would water and Chia grass would sprout on its body. They’re still sold. You can even buy a Chia Dinosaur.

Today, the Chia seed is the newest health trend. This tiny seed contains antioxidants, protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It has all the properties of a “superfood.” The Chia seed is only a bit larger than a poppy seed, so it has a wide array of uses. It has binding properties, so it can even be used as an egg replacement in baking for people with egg allergies. One tablespoon of Chia powder dissolved in a quarter cup of water equals one egg. It’s gluten-free and contains anti-inflammatory properties. It has no discernible flavor, so you can’t have any real problem with the taste.

Looking at the nutritional content of one tablespoon of Chia seed, it’s easy to see why it’s becoming such a popular addition to the diets of so many people. It contains 60 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and 2.4 grams of Omega-3, 64 mg of calcium and 40 mg of magnesium. One tablespoon of Chia seed actually contains the same amount of Omega-3 as does four ounces of salmon. It is important to note that the body can absorb Omega-3 from fish more easily than plant-based Omega-3.

Because of the high fiber content of Chia, it’s of great use to people trying to lose weight, as it will help you stay fuller for a longer period of time. In addition you can keep it in your pantry for about five years. The high levels of antioxidants it contains prevent it from becoming rancid.

So what can you use Chia seed for? In addition to an egg substitute in baking (as was mentioned previously), Chia seeds can be sprinkled over salads, cereal, or yogurt. They can be used as a thickener in sauces and gravies. Because of their binding properties, Chia seeds can be used to make fruit “gels” … puree the fruit of your choice and add some ground seeds. You can use the “gel” to top ice creams or cake. Mix them into hot cereal. There are so many ways to add these tiny nutritional giants into your diet, we could go on and on.

Look for white or black/gray Chia seeds. Brown seeds are not yet ripe, so you won’t gain all the nutritional benefits you would from the white or black/gray seeds.

All of us at FoodFacts.com are excited to try the myriad of different ways to incorporate Chia seeds into our diet. We bet the Chia Pet had no idea all those years ago that it would be the precursor the latest healthy diet and nutrition news!

Read More:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/chia-nutritions-new-pet-project/2012/11/27/f3ce8ad2-245f-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_story_1.html

Want to reduce your fat intake? Pepsi thinks it has a great idea for you

FoodFacts.com has been reading reports of this new product introduction from Pepsi all day. If you’re interested in it, you’ll have to wait a while, unless you live in Japan where it’s debuting.

Pepsi has announced the introduction of Pepsi Special. This is their new soda that they claim will block fat in your body … oh and supposedly it also adds fiber.

Pepsi Special contains an indigestible dietary fiber called dextrin. There have been studies involving mice that show that the fiber can block fat absorption and could possibly lower cholesterol levels. The company is underscoring the benefits of dextrin. People will ingest more fiber and help reduce fat levels in their blood.

While it all sounds good (sort of), we have a few questions about the product. First of all, we really want to know about the remainder of the ingredient list in the product. Regular Pepsi contains high-fructose corn syrup, caramel color, and phosphoric acid – not exactly a fabulous recipe for health benefits. Try as we might, we weren’t able to come up with the ingredient list for Pepsi Special. We’re going to assume (and probably safely), that Pepsi Special is simply adding dextrin to its regular ingredients. While we could be wrong, we don’t understand how you could market a soda like Pepsi with the addition of this ingredient (which hasn’t been proven in humans to reduce fat intake) as a healthier option.

It’s also worth pointing out that Pepsi (and frankly, other soda as well) does not actually contain fat. It’s completely unclear if drinking the soda with a high fat meal can or does block fat absorption from the other food you are consuming while drinking it. Or, for that matter, whether it can block fat absorption from foods you’ve ingested prior to drinking the soda or after. What if you just drank the Pepsi Special without eating any food at the same time? How is this supposed to work, exactly?

There’s a lot that seems a little “fuzzy” about this new product introduction. But, it’s worth noting that it’s not the first soft drink containing dextrin to find its way to consumers in Japan. Kirin Mets Cola has already come to market and it’s been quite successful within the country. There are many other “functional” food products marketed in the country. Things like chocolate that fight fat and alcoholic beverages that claim to help imbibers appear younger. Go figure.

Of course, it’s already apparent that nutritional experts are not sold on Pepsi Special’s claims. The studies that have been done on dextrin have not shown that its fat-blocking effects work for human beings … only mice.

FoodFacts.com finds this product introduction both amusing and disturbing. We’re sure our community members understand that the healthy way to lose weight is to include lean protein, whole grains and fruits and vegetables into your balanced diet. In the meantime, we’ll keep our eye on this product launch and see how the population in Japan responds.

Read more at http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/13080/20121112/pepsi-debuts-fat-blocking-soda.htm#8eQb2zJ2zH9yjguK.99 and: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/11/09/truth-behind-pepsi-fat-blocking-soda