Study concludes that we should be eating more fibre in our diet

The study found a diet rich in fibre can cut the risk of major diseases
Credit
John Taylor

Eating plenty of fruit, veg and whole grains can slash the risk of a premature death by nearly a third, according to new research. Most people in the world manage less than 20g.

Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16 to 24 percent. For example, higher intakes of wholegrains were associated with a reduction in NCD risk by as much as 33pc, translating to 26 fewer deaths per 1,000, with seven fewer cases of heart disease per 1,000 people.

Most people globally consume about 20 grams (0.70 ounces) of dietary fiber per day, Mann said of the findings.

However, the same study also found that only one in 10 of the participants actually consumed the recommended daily fiber intake. In the USA, fibre intake among adults averages 15g a day.

Pulses such as lentils are a rich source of fibre. "This study is essential as there is increased public confusion over what to base our meal choices on, and the impact our dietary choices have on our risk of certain diseases", said study co-author Jim Mann, a professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

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Dietary fiber is considered the best carbohydrate, with significant health benefits - foods high in fiber recommended to curb hunger, maintain blood sugar and reduce risk of serious disease. They include brown rice, whole grain bread, popcorn, whole wheat cereals, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat crackers. Dietary fiber lowers cholesterol levels and body weight, and thus obesity-related cancers: breast cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer and prostate cancer.

The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in deaths from heart disease and other conditions when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Consuming 25-29 grams each day was adequate but the data suggest that higher intakes of dietary fibre could provide even greater protection.

For every 15g increase of whole grains eaten per day, total deaths and incidences of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer decreased by up to 19%. The latest research is the most definitive evidence of the health benefits of a high fiber intake. When it comes to the fiber-rich whole foods, it requires chewing and also retains the structure in the gut that increases the satiety and help in weight control.

"The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer".

"Commenting on the implications and limitations of the study, Professor Gary Frost, Imperial College London, UK, says, "[The authors] report findings from both prospective cohort studies and randomised controlled trials in tandem.

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