Dietary fiber does not displace energy but is associated with decreased serum cholesterol concentrations in healthy children.Am J Clin Nutr 2010; 91(3):651-61AJ
Dietary fiber has health benefits, but fiber recommendations for children are controversial because fiber may displace energy.
The objective was to longitudinally evaluate dietary fiber intake in children and to study associations between growth variables, serum cholesterol concentrations, and intakes of fiber, energy, and nutrients.
Altogether, 543 children from a prospective randomized atherosclerosis prevention trial (the Special Turku Coronary Risk factor Intervention Project; STRIP) participated in this study between the ages of 8 mo and 9 y. The intervention children (n = 264) were counseled to replace part of saturated fat with unsaturated fat. Nutrient intakes, weight, height, and serum total, HDL-, and LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations were analyzed. Children were divided into 3 groups according to mean dietary fiber intake in foods: low (lowest 10%), high (highest 10%), and average (middle 80%) fiber intakes.
Fiber intake associated positively with energy intake and inversely with fat intake. Children with a high fiber intake received more vitamins and minerals than did children in other groups. In longitudinal growth analyses, weights and heights were similar in all 3 fiber intake groups, and fiber intake (g/d) associated positively with weight gain between 8 mo and 2 y. Serum cholesterol concentrations decreased with increasing fiber intakes. Children in the intervention group had a higher fiber intake than did the control children during the entire follow-up period.
Fiber intake did not displace energy or disturb growth between 13 mo and 9 y of age. Serum cholesterol values correlated inversely with fiber intake, which indicated that part of the cholesterol-lowering intervention effect in the STRIP project may have been explained by dietary fiber.