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Breaking Down Fiber: A National Survey of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Gives Insight into The Nation’s Understanding of Fiber

PORTLAND, Ore. – October 17, 2017 – Fiber is considered an under-consumed nutrient and nutrient of public health concern according to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans1. While the nation’s need for increased fiber intake is well established, education is needed in order for people to better understand fiber and fiber needs.  For an inside look into how registered dietitian nutritionists and the patients, clients and communities they counsel view fiber, Pear Bureau Northwest surveyed over one thousand dietitians from across the nation to tap into a cross-section of their experiences2.

In sharing their experiences as they relate to fiber, dietitians revealed the following takeaways:

  • Education is Needed on Fiber
    • Most dietitians have a similar experience when it comes to talking about fiber with their patients. 50% or less of the individuals/communities they counsel seem to understand the benefits of fiber. Moreover, dietitians shared that 50% or less of the people they counsel understand how to include fiber in their daily diets, and the same amount, 50% or less, take action to include fiber into their daily diets.
  • Fruit Takes The Lead
    • In practice, dietitians recommend fruit more often than any other high-fiber food. When recommending ways to increase fiber, dietitians stick with whole foods, while fiber-enriched foods and fiber supplements are recommended least often.
  • When it Comes to Fiber, Pears Rank Higher
    • With 6g of fiber in one medium pear providing 24 percent of daily fiber needs, pears are a top choice among dietitian recommendations to increase fiber intake, and it’s no surprise why! Pears are an excellent source of fiber and have vitamin C with only 100 calories per serving. Plus, pears are sodium free, fat-free and cholesterol free.
  • Preparation is Key
    • The most common roadblock dietitians have found to prevent people from getting enough fiber is a lack of knowledge among those they counsel about how to prepare high-fiber foods. Additionally, more than half of dietitians have encountered a dislike of high-fiber foods as a major barrier to proper fiber consumption among individuals/communities they counsel.

 

Pears are in season now and plentiful at grocers nationwide, making this the perfect time to enjoy the many varieties of pears. To help overcome the preparation barrier commonly encountered with high-fiber foods, try the following tips to enjoy pears and their nutrition benefits:

  • The best way to judge the ripeness of a pear is to Check the Neck™: Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe.
  • Leave firm, unripe pears at room temperature so that they can ripen. Once a pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process and saved for use up to five days.
  • If you find yourself with a few too many overripe pears, blend them into smoothies, soups, sauces and purees.

 

Pear Bureau Northwest continues to pursue opportunities to better understand the health benefits of pears and their ability to contribute to a healthy diet. Visit www.usapears.org for additional pear research, nutrition resources and recipes.

 

About Pear Bureau Northwest
Pear Bureau Northwest was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote the fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon. As the nation’s largest pear-growing region, 900 grower families produce 88% of all fresh pears commercially grown in the United States. Pears grown in these two Pacific Northwest states are distributed under the “USA Pears” brand. Pears are an excellent source of fiber (24% DV) and a good source of vitamin C (10% DV) for only 100 calories per medium-sized pear. Sweet and juicy with no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol, pears are a perfect choice for snacking and make a great addition to any meal. For more information, visit www.usapears.org, www.facebook.com/USApears, and follow @USApears on Twitter.

 

Resources:

  1. S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
  2. Source: The Pear Bureau Northwest Fiber Survey was conducted by Today’s Dietitian between August 24 and September 13, 2017 with participation from 1,030 registered dietitian nutritionists across America, using an email invitation and an online survey.

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