• Brian Dooreck, MD

Fiber and Disease Prevention

Updated: Aug 9




Is fiber really healthy?


Nutrition experts and the latest national dietary guidelines advise us that fiber will provide you better health.


What is new about fiber?


Published in the Lancet, a large new review of studies on fiber demonstrated how fiber substantially lowers the risk of "cardiovascular-related mortality, and incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke incidence and mortality, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer."


Note that these four diseases—lead to significant mortality worldwide.



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Does fiber really prevent heart disease, cancer, and death?


This study included "135 million person-years of data from 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials with 4635 adult participants."


Fiber substantially lowers the risk of cardiovascular related mortality, coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer.

The more fiber one ate, the lower the risk of cardiovascular-related mortality, coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer, not to mention death from any reason by 15% to 30%.

The more dietary fiber people ate, the lower their risk of disease and dying from any reason.

How much fiber do I need to eat?


People eating 25-29 grams of fiber showed the most significant reductions of disease. Daily consumption of foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, (not from supplements or powders) showed the strongest reductions in disease risk. For those eating more, then there was an even lower risk.


People should have at least 25-29 grams of fiber from foods per day

Every 5 years, HHS and USDA publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Nation’s go-to source for nutrition advice. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that women eat 25 grams of fiber a day while men should consume 38 grams a day. The American Heart Association advises that adults eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber in their diet daily. However, the average American, however, eats only about 15 grams of fiber a day.



How does fiber reduce heart disease and colorectal cancer?


As we are learning more and more about the microbiome, some possible reasons why fiber has beneficial effects may also be because fiber-rich foods take longer to chew, and lowers the risk of obesity.


Obesity has been linked to heart disease and cancer. In terms of the microbiome, (see some of my earlier blog posts), fiber stimulates beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can reduce inflammation and the risk of colon cancer.


How can I eat more fiber in my diet?


Get more fiber in your diet, from whole-food sources such as:

  • Whole grains

  • Vegetables

  • Beans

  • Legumes

  • Whole fruits


Personally


I eat a high fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🥬 🌾 🥦"

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