High Fiber Diet: Any Benefits?

August 28, 2006

imagesfghy.jpgJust talked with a patient regarding her weight and her risk for diabetes and other diseases related to being overweight. Her relative apparently just died of colon cancer. That’s when our focus of discussion shifted to dietary habits and how high fiber diet can help prevent diseases that are now so commonly affecting the health system.

We know that high fiber diet has benefits including preventing constipation, improve bowel function, lowering ones risk to develop diabetes and of course help obesity by decreasing our urge to eat and therefore alleviate hunger. In a recent article published in Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology, a low fiber diet has been shown to result in rising trend of obesity among children. Likewise, a low fiber diet has also been shown to increase ones risk to cancer especially colon cancer however some studies published in New England of Medicine have not shown beneficial effects of high fiber diet in reducing risk of colon adenomas and cancer.

In the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Southwestern University looked at a very high fiber diet in relation to blood glucose and cholesterol… 2 very important risk factors for heart disease. The 50 gm fiber content in the study was twice the recommended daily intake for fiber by the American Diabetes Assc which is around 25 gms. 

The Results:

A high fiber diet resulted in a decrease of blood glucose by 10%; it likewise decreased the insulin levels and the cholesterol levels as well.

Clinical Implication:

By lowering ones blood glucose and cholesterol, aside from its benefits in weight loss …a high fiber diet can therefore result in reducing ones risk for diabetic complications including heart disease and stroke.

Examples of Fiber that we can incorporate in the diet:

  • Insoluble fiber like wheat bran, nuts and vegetables like okra
  • Soluble fiber like oats, peas, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, psyllium, papaya, grapefruit, cantaloupe

Here’s To A High Fiber Diet for a Healthier You!

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