High-fibre diet cuts risk of death from cancer, stroke and heart disease by up to a third

Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in The Lancet | via ScienceDaily

Eating more fibre, found in wholegrain cereals, pasta and bread as well as nuts and pulses, will reduce people’s chances of heart disease and early death, according to a landmark review published in The Lancet. 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.

The results suggest a 15-30% decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24%. Per 1,000 participants, the impact translates into 13 fewer deaths and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease.

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In addition, a meta-analysis of clinical trials suggested that increasing fibre intakes was associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intakes.

While their study did not show any risks associated with dietary fibre, the authors note that high intakes might have ill-effects for people with low iron or mineral levels, for whom high levels of whole grains can further reduce iron levels. 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.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Link to the research: Reynolds, A. et al. | Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses | The Lancet | Published January 10, 2019

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