Consuming higher levels of dietary fibre and whole grains could help to reduce the risk of mortality and a range of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to new research published in the Lancet. The research was commissioned by the World Health Organization to inform the development of updated recommendations regarding carbohydrate intake.
Researchers examined data from 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials reporting on the relationship between a number of indicators of carbohydrate quality and the incidence of a range of NCDs and mortality.
The observational data suggested around 15-30 per cent decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular-related mortality, and incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke incidence and mortality, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer when comparing the highest dietary fibre consumers with the lowest consumers. Higher intakes of whole grains were also associated with a reduction in mortality and NCD risk.
Meta-analysis of clinical trials suggested increasing fibre intakes was associated with lower body weight, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol when comparing higher with lower intakes of dietary fibre. Increased whole grain intakes also showed a reduction in body weight and cholesterol.
Associations for low glycaemic load and low glycaemic index diets were less clear.