FiberResearch Studies

2010 Dietary Guidelines Report on Dietary Fiber

In 1977, Senator George McGovern chaired the US Senate’s Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs and recommended for the first time that dietary goals for Americans should be established. This report – originally known as the McGovern Report – has morphed into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), a set of nutrition recommendations that are revised every five years.

In 2005, the DGA’s big news was that the USDA ditched their original 1992 food guide pyramid – this one:

…in exchange for MyPyramid – the heavily criticized nebulous rendering of how Americans should eat:

As of this writing, the 2005 DGAs remain the current guidelines until the 2010 version is published. And while the already-released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report has been met with less fanfare, there will be some important developments:

  • The report is now entirely evidence-based, using a “question-and-answer” format based on the USDA’s Evidence Library
  • It includes a strong focus on at-risk populations including pregnant women and infants and children
  • Two new chapters on “Total Diet” and “Translation/Implementation” are included
  • The report addresses – for the first time ever – an unhealthy (i.e. fat) American public

In the 2010 Dietary Guidelines report, fiber is referred to as a “shortfall nutrient” (along with vitamin D, calcium and potassium). Chapter 5 of the report (which you can download here) covers Carbohydrates and in turn, dietary fiber. A summary of the chapter’s mention of fiber includes:

  • Get your fiber from foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes instead of isolated, added fibers
  • Solid food sources of fiber tend to be more satiating than most liquid fiber sources
  • Dietary fiber from whole foods protects against cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and is essential for optimal GI health
  • Moderate body of evidence shows whole grain intake protects against heart disease
  • Limited evidence shows whole grain consumption is associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk
  • Moderate evidence shows that whole grains and grain fiber is associated with lower body weight

All in all, there are no major breakthroughs in this report with regards to dietary fiber. And, as depicted in the graphic below, across almost every age and gender group, dietary fiber intakes do not – not surprisingly – meet recommended levels:

From: J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Nov;110(11):1638-45. Van Horn, L. Development of the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report: perspectives from a registered dietitian.

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