HealthTalk: Do I need a certain type of dietary fiber?

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Q: Do I need a certain type of dietary fiber or should I just aim for the recommended total?

A: Current research most strongly supports aiming to meet recommendations for total dietary fiber, yet different types of fiber offer unique benefits. So to get the most overall health protection, include a wide variety of foods that provide dietary fiber every day.

You probably are familiar with soluble and insoluble fiber. Research has now moved forward to identifying fiber that is more specifically based on the way it seems to work in the body. Here are three major types:

Viscous fibers form a gel in the intestinal tract. These fibers can lower LDL cholesterol – known as the ‘bad’ type – and reduce blood sugar surges after meals by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates. Some evidence suggests that these gel-forming fibers may support weight management by increasing satiety.

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    Meet AICR’s New Director of Research, Cancer Scientist and Survivor

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    The American Institute for Cancer Research has a new Director of Research, Nigel Brockton, PhD, and we’re looking forward to all the expertise he brings.

    Dr. Brockton has first-hand experience with cancer, being diagnosed in his final year of high school and then his cancer returned while an undergraduate studying marine biology in Scotland. He then shifted to cancer research, graduating with a PhD in genetic epidemiology. Here, Dr. Brockton shares his passion for the field of cancer prevention and survivorship, along with how AICR has intertwined with his work.

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      Whole grains: how much do you need for lower cancer risk?

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      AICR’s latest comprehensive update on colorectal cancer produced a delicious finding on how you can lower your risk for that disease. Simply swap out some refined grains, like white bread or white rice, for flavorful whole grain foods daily and you’ll create a more cancer-protective diet.

      In the report, scientists found strong evidence, for the first time, that eating 90 grams (about 3 ounces) of whole grain foods daily reduces risk for colorectal cancer by 17 percent. Fewer amounts of whole grains provided some – but less – protection; greater amounts offered even more.

      This may be due, the report says, to the many compounds in whole grain foods like fiber, vitamin E, selenium, lignans, phenols and others that have shown anti-cancer actions in lab studies.

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