Doctor’s Tip: Dietary deficiencies in the land of plenty |

Doctor’s Tip: Dietary deficiencies in the land of plenty

Dr. Greg Feinsinger
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In developing countries, where people are starving, protein deficiencies exist, but that is extremely rare in “developed” countries such as ours.

The average protein requirement is 42 grams a day, and essentially all of us, including vegans, get well over that. Here’s where most Americans are nutritionally deficient, based on current guidelines:

1. 97 percent of Americans eat diets that are deficient in fiber, which is unfortunate because fiber helps prevent obesity, diabetes and pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and various cancers. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 31.5 grams, and the average American gets 15 grams. Fiber is present only in plants, not animal products.

2. 96 percent of Americans don’t eat the recommended amount of legumes (beans, lentils, peas).

3. 99 percent don’t get enough whole grains. To see if something has adequate whole grains, look at the food label, and the total carb/fiber ratio should be 10/1 or less.

4. 96 percent of us don’t eat the recommended amount of green vegetables.

So do what your mom told you to do when you were young, eat your vegetables (and beans and whole grains).

Dr. Feinsinger of Carbondale, who retired in February from Glenwood Medical Associates after 41 years as a family physician, will provide a health tip each Tuesday in the Post Independent. Contact him at

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