Study backs high-fibre diet for health and weight

At 6 grams each pears have some of the highest fiber content in the fruit family. Eat them raw in salads or poached in wine or pomegranate juice for dessert

At 6 grams each pears have some of the highest fiber content in the fruit family. Eat them raw in salads or poached in wine or pomegranate juice for dessert

The study, which will make for hard reading for food manufacturers making low-carb products, said that fibre in "good" carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, cereal, pasta and oats has a protective effect.

In this study, the team has analyzed about 185 observational studies and have conducted about 58 clinical trials that involve 4,635 adult participants.

People who eat diets that are high in fiber have lower risk of death and chronic diseases such as stroke or cancer compared with people with low fiber intake, a new analysis found.

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.

According to the study, most people worldwide now consume less than 20 grams of dietary fiber a day.

The analysis also did not find any danger associated with eating high amounts of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (note that supplements do not count).

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

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Most people worldwide consume less than 20 grammes of dietary fibre per day, researchers said.

Kevin Whelan, Professor of Dietetics, King's College London, said: "Importantly this research was able to investigate not only the effect of the total amount of fibre, but also the quality of the fibre". Foods that don't increase blood glucose may still be high in sugars, saturated fats and sodium.

"Practical ways to increase fibre intake is to base meals and snacks around whole grains, vegetables, pulses and whole fruits". These studies involved initially healthy participants, so the findings can not be applied to those with existing chronic diseases. The latest research is the most definitive evidence of the health benefits of a high fiber intake.

Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over almost 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25 grammes to 29 grammes or more of dietary fibre a day, said researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand.

The authors of the review also stressed that these results mainly relate to natural, fibre rich foods and not the powdered, synthetic fibre which can be added to food. Third, the absence of quantifiable and objective biomarkers for assessing carbohydrate intake means dietary research relies on self-reported intake, which is prone to error and misreporting.

It was also funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Riddet Institute of Research Excellence, the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, the University of Otago and the Otago Southland Diabetes Research Trust.

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