People who don't eat enough
fibre seem at increased risk for heart
problems, and too few Americans are consuming enough fibre,
a new study says.
Researchers analysed data
collected from more than 23 000 US adults between 1999 and 2010 and found that
low fibre intake was strongly associated with heart disease risk factors such
as obesity, inflammation and metabolic syndrome. The syndrome is a group of
symptoms that puts people at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Previous studies have found
that dietary fibre may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and
inflammation. Despite those findings, this new study found that Americans don't
have enough fibre in their diets.
The Institute of Medicine – an independent non-profit organisation that advises the US government on
health issues – recommends 38 grams of fibre a day for men aged 19 to 50 and
30 grams a day for men over 50. The IOM recommends 25 grams a day for women
aged 19 to 50 and 21 grams a day for women over 50.
But the average dietary fibre
intake among the study participants was only about 16 grams per day, according
to the study, which was published in the December issue of the American
Journal of Medicine.
The new findings show the
need to develop new strategies and polices to increase Americans' dietary fibre
intake, study senior investigator Dr Cheryl Clark, of the Centre for Community
Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical
School, said in a journal news release.
The researchers also found
racial and ethnic differences. Compared to whites, Mexican-Americans had higher
levels of fibre in their diet, while blacks had lower levels.
The American Academy of
Family Physicians explains how to increase the amount of fibre in your diet.