BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — New research supported by The Kellogg Co. and published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine shows that starting the day with fiber-filled breakfast cereal results in significantly more fiber consumed throughout the day.

According to the study, adults eating whole grain ready-to-eat cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving consumed 42% more fiber at breakfast and 14% more daily fiber than typical adults.

Data for the study were collected from U.S. free-living households in the NPD Group’s National Eating Trends (NET) panel. Three years of NET panel data were included in the analysis, yielding a sample of 6,000 households and 10,708 adults.

“The purpose of this study was to identify the top sources of fiber in the diets of Americans and measure the differences in daily fiber intake based on consumers’ choices of R.-T.-E. cereal that include any type of on-pack, whole grain statement or health claim,” the researchers noted. “R.-T.-E. cereal was the focus of this research because more than 90% of households consume some form of R.-T.-E. cereal.”

Researchers found the average fiber intake for adults in the study sample was 13.8 grams in a typical day.

By meal occasion, breakfast provided 21% of the average daily fiber, with 2.9 grams of fiber at breakfast in a typical day. Lunch provided 30% of the average daily fiber and dinner nearly 40%.

Vegetables, fruit and sandwiches were the top 3 sources of fiber in the diet, followed by R.-T.-E. cereal and potatoes. However, when the cereal consumed was made with whole grain it became the No. 1 source of fiber in the diet.

“Compared with the average fiber from R.-T.-E. cereal (1.01 g) in all adults, when the R.-T.-E. cereal made with whole grain ingredients provided ≥3 grams of fiber per serving, fiber more than doubled, with a gain of 1.36 grams, or a 144% increase in fiber from this change in R.-T.-E. cereal selection,” the researchers said. “However, when a whole grain containing R.-T.-E. cereal with <3 grams of fiber per serving was consumed, intake increased by only half that amount or 0.65 grams — that is, a 78% increase in fiber.”

The researchers noted that if consumers are more aware of the level of fiber in their R.-T.-E. and routinely choose cereals higher in fiber content it may result in a significant increase in fiber intake without increasing calories.

“Simple lifestyle-change approaches like this are critical to reducing the magnitude of America’s fiber deficit,” the researchers said.