amount of fiber that we should consume to prevent chronic disease and premature
A new meta-analysis examines 40 years’ worth of research in an attempt to find out the ideal
Researchers and public health organizations have long hailed the benefits of eating fiber,
but how much fiber should we consume, exactly?
This question has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to commission a new study. The
results appear in the journal The Lancet.
The new research aimed to help develop new guidelines for dietary fiber consumption, as well
as reveal which carbs protect the most against noncommunicable diseases and can stave off
Noncommunicable diseases are also called chronic diseases. They typically last for a long
time and progress slowly. According to WHO, there are “four main types of noncommunicable
diseases:” cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes.
Professor Jim Mann, of the University of Otago, in New Zealand, is the corresponding author
of the study, and Andrew Reynolds, a postdoctoral research fellow at Otago’s Dunedin School
of Medicine, is the first author of the paper.
Daily intake of 25–29 grams of fiber is ideal
Reynolds and colleagues examined the data included in 185 observational studies — amounting
to 135 million person-years — and 58 clinical trials which recruited over 4,600 people in
total. The studies analyzed took place over almost 40 years.
The scientists investigated the incidence of certain chronic diseases, as well as the rate of
premature deaths resulting from them.
These conditions were: coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2
diabetes, colon cancer, and a range of obesity-related cancers, such as breast cancer,
endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, and prostate cancer.