Study backs high-fibre diet for health and weight

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It has reignited confusion - and debate - on carbohydrates, which in the weight loss world are considered "bad".

He said: "Our research indicates we should have at least 25-29g of fibre from foods daily, although most of us now consume less than 20g of fibre daily".

"Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases", said Professor Jim Mann, from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Their analysis found up to a 30% reduction in deaths from all causes among those who consumed the most fibre.

Eating fibre-rich foods - such as prunes, rye bread and nuts - also reduced incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.

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For every 1,000 participants in the 243 studies and trials, the impact of consuming higher fibre intakes translates into 13 fewer deaths and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease when compared to those consuming lower fibre diets.

In Britain in 2015, an advisory committee on nutrition recommended an increase in dietary fibre intake to 30g a day, but only 9 per cent of British adults manage to reach this target.

"(And) the breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer".

"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". Fitness enthusiasts and health conscious people must note that foods with a low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load may also contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

But the data, published in a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in The Lancet medical journal, also suggested higher dietary fibre intakes could give even greater protection.

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