High-fibre diet may lower risk of death, chronic diseases

Pearl Mccarthy
January 14, 2019

Professor Mann said the health benefits of dietary fibre - contained in foods such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit - come from its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and its effects on metabolism.

Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.

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 2-19%.

Despite its importance, Australians aren't getting enough - research conducted by Nutritional Research Australia found that an alarming two in every three adults are not meeting their required fibre intake.

A recent study, the third of its kind, has revealed that most people in the world eat too little fibre, which is proven to cut the risk of cancer, heart disease and strokes by up to 30 percent.

The study shows that most people worldwide eat less than 20 grams of fibre each day, while guidelines set in 2015 in the United Kingdom recommend that we should eat at least 30 grams per day. Dietary fibre includes plant-based carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereal, seeds and some legumes including peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupin beans, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind.

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Prof Mann said: "We also found an overwhelmingly positive effect, with high fibre diets being protective against heart disease, diabetes, cancers and measures of mortality".

"While we all knew that dietary fibre was good for us we didn't know the extent to which the old mantra was true", he says. But the data, published in a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in The Lancet medical journal, also suggested higher dietary fiber intakes could give even greater protection.

The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against type 2 diabetes and stroke only.

Eating wholegrain foods which contain dietary fibre could reduce the risk of contracting a range of deadly diseases including diabetes and cancer, a study has concluded.

According to the study's authors, it is the type, quality and quantity of carbohydrates in people's diets that is important.

Fiber content was shown to be a better indicator of a carbohydrate food's ability to prevent disease than glycemic index, the measure of the degree to which blood glucose goes up after a particular food is eaten. Improving the accuracy of dietary assessment is a priority area for nutrition research. Quoting Andrew Reynolds, a co-author of the new meta-analysis of existing research, who is a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand, the "CNN" reported that Fibre's health benefits have been recorded "by over 100 years of research".

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