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Dietary Fiber Is Still Good for You — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 20, 2013

Dietary Fiber Is Still Good for You

By Joe Elia

Dietary fiber's salutary effects on health — specifically in preventing cardiovascular disease — are reaffirmed in a BMJ meta-analysis.

Researchers examined 22 cohort studies in predominantly Westernized countries that looked at the relation between fiber intake and cardiovascular risk. Most data were from food-frequency questionnaires. The analysis presents risks based on dose-response curves rather than simple "high" or "low" intakes.

Overall, total fiber intake was inversely associated with cardiovascular risk. Specifically, each 7 grams a day of fiber intake was associated with a risk ratio of 0.9 for both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Only insoluble fiber (wheat bran, brown rice, and other whole grains) had a significant lowering of risk.

Both the researchers and an editorialist acknowledge the limitations of dietary-recall studies. The editorialist writes that despite this, "clinicians should enthusiastically and skillfully recommend" more fiber in their patients' diets.

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