Eating more dietary fiber and whole grains protects against diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer, according a new review commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Researchers reviewed 40 years of studies encompassing 135 million person-years.
They found that eating at least 25 g to 29 g of dietary fiber a day yielded significant health benefits, decreasing both total deaths and the incidence of CHD, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer.
"We found that the amount of dietary fiber was linked to a surprisingly broad range of relevant diseases”.
"Carbohydrate intake is a fairly regular topic in the media, with most of the news focusing on the amount of carbohydrates one should eat; however, sugars, starches, and fibers are all carbohydrates that perform different roles in the body."
"With this in mind, it is perhaps too simplistic to just consider the total amount of carbohydrate."
There was a 15% to 31% reduction in the risk for all-cause mortality for those who ate the highest quantity of fiber, compared with those who ate the least.
For every 8 g increase in dietary fiber consumed daily, total deaths and incidents of CHD, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer decreased by 5% to 17%.
There was also increased protection against stroke and breast cancer.
Moreover, for every 15 g increase in daily consumption of whole grains, total deaths and the incidence of CHD, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer decreased by 2% to 19%.
"Fiber-containing foods should be chewed before passing through the stomach and into small bowel, where they affect satiety, glucose and insulin responses, and lipid absorption.”
Researcher’s pointed out that most people currently consume less than 20 g of fiber per day, and added that "practical ways to increase fiber intake is to base meals and snacks around whole grains, vegetables and whole fruits."