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High Dietary Fiber Intake May Reduce Risk of Non-Communicable Diseases

The majority of people worldwide consume less than 20 grams of dietary fiber per day, falling far short of the 30 gram daily Dietary Recommended Allowance, which can greatly affect their health. A recent study has found that people who eat 25-29 grams of dietary fiber daily have lower rates of non-communicable diseases.

The researchers included 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials with 4,635 adult participants in their analysis. They focused on premature deaths from and incidence of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. They also looked at incidence of type-2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cancers associated with obesity. Only studies with healthy participants were included.

They found that people who eat the highest amount of dietary fiber have a 15-30% decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular mortality compared to those who eat the least. They also found that every 8-gram increase in dietary fiber per day decreased total deaths and incidence of coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer by 5-27%. The decrease was 2-19% for every 15-gram increase in dietary fiber per day.

Higher intakes of whole grains were associated with a 13-33% reduction in the risk of non-communicable diseases.  They were also associated with a reduction in bodyweight.

When the researchers focused on diets with low glycemic index and low glycemic load, they found only limited support for protection against type-2 diabetes and stroke.

Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand and the University of Dundee in Scotland conducted the study. It was published on January 10, 2019, in The Lancet.

Good sources of dietary fiber include whole grains, pulses, vegetables, and fruit. Previous studies have found that high intakes of dietary fiber may help improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
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