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


The World Health Organization has recently announced that a high-fiber diet of good carbohydrates can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and decrease the possibility of related diseases like diabetes, strokes and colorectal cancer. After looking at 40 years worth of studies and tests, he found that higher intakes of fiber reduced body weight, total cholesterol, and mortality.

The only risk researchers uncovered from eating a large amount of whole grain, high-fibre foods was a chance of ill effects to consumers with low mineral or iron levels.

Speaking about the study, co-author Jim Mann, professor of human nutrition and medicine at the University of Otago said, "The health benefits of dietary fibre appear to be even greater than we thought previously".

A high-fibre diet also showed up to a 24% fall in rates of colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Their analysis found up to a 30% reduction in deaths from all causes among those who consumed the most fibre.

A good target for those wanting to reap health gains would be to eat 25g to 29g of dietary fibre a day, the analysis found. But it adds that for people with an iron deficiency, high levels of whole grains can further reduce iron levels.

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They focused on premature deaths from and incidence of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as incidence of type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and cancers associated with obesity: breast, endometrial, oesophageal and prostate cancer.

Most people worldwide consume less than 20g of dietary fibre per day.

The authors only included studies with healthy participants, so the findings can not be applied to people with existing chronic diseases. Dietary fiber includes plant-based carbohydrates like beans, whole-grain cereal, and seeds.

The risk of contracting "a wide range" of communicable diseases, including heart disease, could fall by as much as a third with a diet containing grains, pulses and wholegrain bread. However, links for low glycaemic load and low glycaemic index diets are less clear.

Prof Mann said: "The health benefits of fibre are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism". They also note that the study mainly relates to naturally-occurring fibre rich foods rather than synthetic and extracted fibre, such as powders, that can be added to foods. It helps lower cholesterol and stabilise blood glucose. Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats.