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

Rolled oats

British doctors commenting on the Otago research in an accompanying Lancet article hailed it as a significant piece of research

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, 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.

Reynolds' team was commissioned by the World Health Organization to inform future fiber intake recommendations.

Professor Jim Mann of the University of Otago in New Zealand told The Guardian that research from the latest study "does contribute to the debate considerably".

Each study included 1,000 participants and showed eating more [VIDEO] high-fibre foods led to 13 fewer deaths [VIDEO] and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease.

When it came to whole grains, the researchers found that for every 15g increase consumed per day, there was a 2-19% decrease in the incidence and total deaths from coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.

While the consumption of 25-29g of fibre per day was adequate, the findings suggest that a higher daily intake could offer even greater protection.

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".

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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.

It also looked at type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and tumours associated with obesity - breast, endometrial, oesophageal and prostate cancer.

Most Britons consume less than 20g of dietary fibre per day.

Food that falls under this recommended fibre intake includes pasta, bread, nuts and cereals.

Dietary fiber is considered the best carbohydrate, with significant health benefits - foods high in fiber recommended to curb hunger, maintain blood sugar and reduce risk of serious disease.

The authors only included studies with healthy participants, so the findings can not be applied to people with existing chronic diseases.

"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". They also note that the study mainly relates to naturally-occurring fibre rich foods rather than synthetic and extracted fibre, such as powders, that can be added to foods.

Pulses such as lentils are a rich source of fibre.

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