High Intake of Dietary Fiber and Whole Grains Reduce Risk of Disease

High Intake of Dietary Fiber and Whole Grains Reduce Risk of Disease

The study finds that higher intakes of fibre "led to a reduced incidence of a surprisingly broad range of relevant diseases (heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer)", reduced body weight and total cholesterol, and reduced mortality, Reynolds wrote.

The study was commissioned by the World Health Organization to inform the development of new recommendations for optimal daily fibre intake and to determine which types of carbohydrate provide the best protection against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and weight gain.

Speaking about it, Professor Jim Mann, corresponding author at the University of Otago, New Zealand said, "Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains".

People who eat extra fibre and whole grains are more likely to avoid certain diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, cancer and diabetes compared to people who eat lesser amounts, a review of all the available evidence has concluded.

For every 8 gram increase in fibre eaten a day, total deaths and incidences of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer fell by 5 to 27 per cent, the study said.

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

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A diet rich in fibre found in bread, pasta, wholegrain cereals and potatoes could cut the risk of early death by up to a third, a study suggests. But it adds that for people with an iron deficiency, high levels of whole grains can further reduce iron levels. However, links for low glycaemic load and low glycaemic index diets are less clear.

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

Adults were already recommended to aim for about 30 grams of fiber per day, and for children to have about 20 grams. These studies involved initially healthy participants, so the findings can not be applied to those with existing chronic diseases.

"We've known for a long time that eating foods high in fiber is good for us and helps to aid digestion", wrote Stokes-Lampard, who was not involved in the new analysis, "so it's reassuring to see this high-quality research showing how far-reaching these benefits may be for our long-term health and wellbeing, and confirming why it's so important to include these foods in our diet".

The WHO defines an unhealthy diet as one of the major risk factors for a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity. Dietary fiber includes plant-based carbohydrates like beans, whole-grain cereal, and seeds. It helps lower cholesterol and stabilise blood glucose.

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