Project Body Smart | Fiber and all-cause mortality


Fiber and all-cause mortality

At a GlanceNew data continues to support research showing that a diet high in fiber is beneficial for health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are   among the leading causes of death in developed countries. Research has shown   that a diet higher in fiber may provide health benefits specifically for   these two conditions, however little is known about association of dietary fiber with other causes of death.  Despite the lack of research it is believed that the health benefits of a diet high in fiber is not just limited to CVD and cancer, but may also provide health benefits through a number of  other mechanisms. A recent European cohort study consisting of 452,717 volunteers, between the ages of ~25-70 at recruitment (mean = 50.8 years), provides additional information regarding the many benefits of dietary fiber.

The   researchers in this study used a food frequency questionnaire and a seven day   food record to determine the volunteers’ fiber intake (both soluble and   insoluble forms of fiber were included). The average follow-up period was   12.7 years, during which 23,582 deaths occurred among the volunteer   individuals.  Analysis revealed a correlation between increased fiber intake and decreased mortality.

For every 10 gram/day increase in fiber there was a decrease in mortality of 10%. When looking at individual causes of death, the 10 g/day increase in fiber was linked to a decrease in death by 10% for circulatory diseases, 39% for digestive diseases, 23% for respiratory disease, and 14% for smoking-related cancers.   These associations were consistent across BMI and physical activity, but were   stronger for those who were smokers and for those that consumed more than 18 g/day of alcohol.

The results of this study continue to support the data showing that increased fiber intake is associated with a decreased risk of death from CVD and cancer. Additionally it shows that a correlation may also exist between fiber   intake and death from digestive and respiratory diseases. This research   supports the idea that a diet high in fiber is important for maintenance of   overall health.

Chuang   S-chun, Norat T, Murphy N, et al. Fiber intake and total and cause-specific   mortality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition   cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012;96(1):164-74.


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