Important confirmation of previous suspected benefits of raised dietary fiber intake has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, in a paper titled “Dietary Fiber Intake and Mortality in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, by Yikyung Park, ScD; Amy F. Subar, PhD; Albert Hollenbeck, PhD; Arthur Schatzkin, MD.
This large study has been completed which after an average of 9 years of research investigation and follow-up on older people, the team reports that they categorised a large number of deaths in the study group (namely 20,126 deaths in men and 11,330 deaths in women).
This has enabled them to confirm that above average dietary fiber intake was, in the study group, associated with a significantly lowered risk of total death in both men and women.
That is not a new discovery, however the large sample has enabled them to report more detailed results. In fact they found that people who routinely consumed the most fiber – an average of 24 grams daily for men, 26 for women, were quite substantially less likely (by 22%), to have died in this time than were those whose diets included the least amount of fiber.
They do not say why this might be but others have noted that dietary fiber may reduce the risk of death from cancer (especially colon cancer), type 2 diabetes, plus cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases. So, this reinforces the advice of government health experts, that making fiber-rich food choices more often is worthwhile and is likely to provide significant health benefits for individuals.
This study came up with some further statistics of interest in that they found that higher consumption of fiber reduced the chances of dying from cancer for men, but not for women.
They also found that this rule did not apply to fiber from other sources, such as fruits. Which will be likely to surprise many people.
Current US guidelines on dietary fiber recommend that women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day, and that men consume 38 gms. This means that most people should up their fiber consumption as according to government estimates, most in the US take in, on average, a mere 15 grams a day.
To give an indication of the amount of fiber that the average person should aim for is three to say that a cup of such cereals as Wheaties and Cheerios, contains about three grams of fiber. Eat a slice of whole-wheat or rye bread and you will have consumed about 2 grams, a cup of green beans provides around 4 grams.
So, we should all seek out a lot more fiber than we currently eat, and in particular soluble fiber is good for you.
Other clinical studies shown that a healthy diet for the heart is one which as low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain soluble fiber can lower blood cholesterol. In fact, just looking at the benefits of fiber in reducing heart disease alone may be even bigger. A Harvard study of those who had a high dietary-fiber intake had a reported 40% lower risk of getting heart disease than those with a below average/ low intake. (Authors: Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, Loria C, Vupputuri S, Myers L, Whelton PK; Legume consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: NHANES epidemiologic follow-up study.)
It cannot be denied that a high fiber diet helps waste material to pass through your system, and the common sense of this will be clear to all.