12 January - 20 June 2016

Fibre, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease

17 July 13

A recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown a link between dietary intake of whole grains and cereal fibre and reduction in risk of obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease, but has described this effect as ‘moderate’.  The research included data obtained from 80 studies, each looking at the effect of fibre and whole grains on one of the above complaints and included evidence that people who eat the most cereal fibre or whole grains and bran lowered their diabetes risk by about 18-40%.  The study also showed that people who consumed the most cereal fibre reduced their risk of suffering a stroke by 22-43% and their risk of cardiovascular disease by 14-26%.  Whole grains are known to contain a component with the ability to block triglyceride and apolipoprotein CIII (apoCIII), both of which have previously been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, and may explain this latter observation.  In addition, whole grains are known to have a low glycemic index, when compared to refined grains, which may also help weight loss and management and may explain why the study found a small amount of evidence linking fibre-rich grains to lower body weights.   It is recommended that people should aim to consume whole grains for at least half of their daily grain servings, however recent data showed that only 1 in 10 US consumers gets their recommended amount of daily fibre.  There are concerns over the long-term implications of this on public health and the introduction of the Whole Grain stamp in the US on products containing over 8 g whole grains per serving is hoped to change the current situation.

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