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High fibre diet linked to reduced NCD risk - official

Friday January 11th, 2019

People who eat high levels of dietary fibre and whole grains reduce their risk of developing non-communicable diseases compared with those who consume less, according to a global analysis of studies over 40 years published today.

The research, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, involved a systematic review and meta-analysis of 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials and found there were health benefits to eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day.

A diet rich in fibre also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24%. They say that the impact translates as 13 fewer deaths and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease per 1000 participants.

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

Corresponding author Professor Jim Mann, from the University of Otago, New Zealand, said its findings provide “convincing evidence” for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains.

The analysis found that for every 8g increase of dietary fibre eaten per day, total deaths and incidences of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer decreased by 5-27%. Protection against stroke, and breast cancer also increased.

Most people worldwide consume less than 20g of dietary fibre per day and although consuming 25g to 29g each day was adequate, the data suggested that higher intakes of dietary fibre could provide even greater protection.

“The health benefits of fibre are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism,” said Professor Mann.

“Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels. The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer.”

Reynolds A, Mann J, Cummings J et al. Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Lancet 10 January 2019.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31809-9

Tags: Australia | Cancer | Diet & Food | Heart Health | World Health

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