Scientists have proven that dietary fiber lowers the risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Surprisingly however, they had yet to show that fiber could impact overall mortality. Now apparently, they have done just that.
To reach these conclusions, Park’s group looked at data from nearly 400,000 men and women between the ages of 50 and 71 using the AARP Diet and Health Study. They assessed dietary fiber intake with a questionnaire that had been administered at the beginning of the 9-year study. They excluded people with diabetes, heart disease and most cancers, as well as those who reported extremely high daily fiber intake.
After controlling for smoking, exercise and body weight, the researchers showed that dietary fiber intake was associated with a reduced risk of death in both sexes.
Specifically, people in the highest quintile for fiber consumption (29.4 grams per day for men and 25.8 grams for women) were 22% less likely to die from all causes than those in the lowest quintile (12.6 grams per day for men and 10.8 for women). Women were 34-59%, and men were 24-56% less likely to die from heart, respiratory and infectious diseases, in particular. Fiber consumption was associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer in men (who are prone to get cancers thought to be reduced by dietary fiber intake) but not in women.
Interestingly, the type of fiber consumed made a huge difference in this study. Participants who consumed fiber from grains, like oatmeal, brown rice and cornmeal experienced all the benefits. In this study at least, fiber derived from vegetables, fruits and beans did not reduce mortality. (more…)