High-fibre diet lowers risk of death, non-communicable diseases: Lancet

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When your mother told you to eat your porridge she knew what she was talking about, with a global study confirming a high-fibre diet protects against heart disease.

In a new study, it was found out that the people who all eat foods having higher fiber content will low the risk of death as well as chronic diseases like cancer or stroke. The research shows that should we eat 25-29 grams of fibre every day, this is actually good for us.

Dietary fiber includes plant-based carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereal, seeds and some legumes. "This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases", said Jim Mann, a professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand who co-led the research.

The study was commissioned by the World Health Organisation 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 health benefits are best if we eat at least 25g of dietary fibre a day, according to analysis of observational studies and clinical trials conducted over almost 40 years.

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

However, their findings imply that while low-carb diets are popular with people wishing to lose weight, this risks the health benefits from eating whole grain fibre.

To meet the recommended daily intake of fiber, the U.S. Food and Drug Authority suggests eating more fruits and vegetables and switching from refined to whole grains of commonly consumed foods such as bread, rice, pasta.

One limitation of the analysis is that the studies involved only healthy individuals, so the findings do not apply to people with pre-existing chronic conditions. Higher intakes of whole grains were associated with a 13-33% reduction in NCD risk - translating into 26 fewer deaths per 1,000 people from all-cause mortality and seven fewer cases of coronary heart disease per 1,000 people. Foods that don't increase blood glucose may still be high in sugars, saturated fats and sodium. The latest research is the most definitive evidence of the health benefits of a high fiber intake.

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.

"The analyses provides compelling evidence that dietary fibre and whole grain are major determinants of numerous health outcomes and should form part of public health policy".

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