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Is fiber good for you?
Fiber is what your grandma used to call "roughage." It's not one particular food, but it's simply the part of foods that your body can't digest. Fibers are technically carbohydrates, but your body doesn't have the enzymes to break them down like it does with sucrose. As a result, they're not absorbed and essentially have no calories.
How to get your kids to eat more fruit
I've written before about how few children and adolescents are eating their recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables per day (Bite, 2/7/07). Researchers at Yale University recently discovered a simple way to get kids to eat more fruit (Int J Beh Nutr Phys Act 2007).
Drinking Sugary Beverages Makes You Gain Weight
Drinking too many sugar-sweetened soft drinks has been linked to overweight and obesity along with such chronic illnesses as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, gout, gallstones, and kidney disease.
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Researchers in Austin, Texas reported recently on the observed differences in dietary habits between 52 normal-weight people and 52 overweight people of the same sex, age, and height (J Am Diet Assoc. 2006;106(6);833-840).
Compared to their normal-weight counterparts, overweight people ate more total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and fewer carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. After measuring their subjects' body fat, the scientists further found that the more servings of fruit a person ate per day, the lower their body fat tended to be.
This held true despite the fact that both the normal-weight group and the overweight group ate almost the same number of calories per day-a small difference of only 200 calories. The overweight group had about one more serving of meat per day and one less serving of fruit than the normal-weight group.
Read that again: the difference between normal weight and overweight is as small as about 200 calories and replacing a serving of meat with a serving of fruit. Make that small change the first step towards a healthier you.
First posted: July 19, 2006