Study Ties Low Dietary Fiber Intake to Increased Heart Risk
Due to several studies, researchers know that low dietary fiber intake contributes to certain cardiovascular risks. Now, in a new study, researchers provide even more evidence that a diet low in fiber can increase the risk of several cardio-metabolic conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular inflammation and obesity. These findings suggest that people should consider increasing their intake of dietary fiber in order to reap the benefits.
For this study, the researchers analyzed data gathered by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). NHANES provided information on 23,168 people collected from 1999 to 2010. The researchers of this new study were interested on how factors, such as sex, age, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status affected dietary fiber intake. The researchers found that in general, dietary fiber was lower than the recommended value.
"Our findings indicate that, among a nationally representative sample of non-pregnant US adults in NHANES 1999-2010, the consumption of dietary fiber was consistently below the recommended total adequate intake levels across survey years," stated senior investigator Cheryl R. Clark, MD, ScD, Center for Community Health and Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. "Our study also confirms persistent differences in dietary fiber intake among socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic subpopulations over time."
The researchers reported that participants who had the lowest dietary fiber intake were the ones with the highest risk of suffering from cardiovascular conditions. Dietary fiber helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation. When these three health factors are at healthy levels, people's cardiovascular health risks will be reduced. The researchers hope that these findings would prompt people to add more fiber in their diets. Currently, the Institute of Medicine recommends that men and women between 19 and 50-years-old to consume 38 grams and 25 grams of fiber respectively every day. For men and women over 50, the daily recommended amounts are 30 grams and 21 grams respectively.
"Compared with participants in the lowest quintile of dietary fiber intake, participants in the highest quintile of dietary fiber intake had a statistically significant lower risk of having the metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity," Clark stated. "Low dietary fiber intake from 1999-2010 in the US and associations between higher dietary fiber and a lower prevalence of cardio-metabolic risks suggest the need to develop new strategies and policies to increase dietary fiber intake. Additional research is needed to determine effective clinical and population-based strategies for improving fiber intake trends in diverse groups."
This study was published in The American Journal of Medicine.