Preventing Chronic Diseases- How Much Fiber is Required?

Preventing Chronic Diseases- How Much Fiber is Required?

Researchers, as well as public health organizations, have admitted about the positive effects of eating fiber. But how much of this fiber should you consume?

This question promoted the World Health Organization (WHO) to warrant a new study. The results of this study are present in The Lancet.

This new research was directed at finding new guidelines regarding the consumption of dietary fiber. It was also meant to reveal the types of carbs that could provide protection from non-communicable diseases and can help keep from excessive weight gain.

Non-communicable diseases are also known as chronic diseases. Such diseases usually last for years and tend to progress slowly. As per the WHO, the communicable diseases are of four different types: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases.

The study was directed by Professor Jim Mann from the University of Otago in New Zealand and Andrew Reynolds from the Otago’s Dunedin School of Medicine.

The key researchers of the study explained the motivation behind it by telling how previous meta-analyses and reviews have only examined a single indicator for the carbohydrate quality. They also explained how none of these studies has been able to explain most of the diseases.

Hence, it has not been possible to establish which type of foods must be used to gain protection against most of the diseases.

To find this out, the researchers went through a meta-analysis consisting of clinical trials and observational studies.

Daily Intake of Fiber

Reynolds along with his colleagues went through the data taken from 185 observational studies, over 58 clinical trials, and 4600 people. The studies which were analyzed kept going for almost 40 years.

The scientists checked the incidence of specific chronic diseases as well as the rate of deaths due to these diseases.

The conditions which they investigated included: stroke, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes type 2, and a whole range of obesity-related cancers like endometrial cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and esophageal cancer.

The research concluded that people who use fiber in their daily diets are up to 30 percent less likely to encounter any chronic disease and diet from it.

Consuming fiber-rich food correlated with a 16 to 24 percent lower incidence of stroke, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

Some of the foods rich in fiber include vegetables, whole grains, pulses, fruits, and pulses like lentils, chickpeas, peas, and beans.

The analysis also highlighted the amount of fiber that people must be consuming every day to gain these health benefits. This amount of fiber corresponds to 25 to 29 grams.

The authors have also highlighted that consumption of more than 29 grams of fiber every day may yield more health benefits.

However, they have cautioned that consuming too much fiber may prove to be damaging, especially for people having insufficient minerals or iron. However, no such side effects were observed in the present study.

The study urges individuals to eat more fiber in their daily diets. Because an average American consumes up to 15 grams of fiber every day, appropriate measures must be taken to ensure they do not encounter chronic diseases in the upcoming days.

Nancy Walker

Nancy holds a Medicine degree and a Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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