Review Finds Increased Fiber Intake Reduces Heart Attacks and Other Cardiovascular Events

ATLANTA (February 12, 2014) —  A recent review has found that an additional seven grams per day of dietary fiber can lower risk of heart disease by 9%.

The findings appeared online December 19 in the British Medical Journal.

The authors reviewed more than 20 studies from 1990 to 2013 to determine the effect of dietary fiber intake on heart health and adverse events. Results of the study found that increased total fiber intake was associated with a lower risk of heart disease. When looking at specific types of fiber, the authors found that increased consumption of insoluble fiber as well as fiber from fruits and vegetables was associated with decreased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. The authors concluded that their findings were “aligned with current recommendations to increase fibre intake and showed a large risk reduction with an achievable increase in daily fibre intake.”

However, the authors stated that, “These data provide evidence relating to whole food consumption and therefore do not support consumption of foods specifically enriched in cereal or vegetable derived fibre.” This is in contrast to the numerous studies that have found that total increase in fiber intake is beneficial for overall health, no matter if it is occurs naturally or is added to food. The authors of the current study may have been limited as the information on fiber intake was taken from dietary recalls, which they acknowledged.  These dietary recalls often fail to capture the specific foods consumed, like those with added fiber. Therefore, the authors’ conclusion that foods enriched with fiber do not have the same impact as naturally occurring fibers may not be accurate.

Source: British Medical Journal
Published online, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6879
“Dietary fiber intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis”
Authors: Threapleton, D.E., Greenwood, D.C., Evans, C.E.L., Cleghorn, C.L., Nykjaer, C., Woodhead, C., Cade, J.E., Gale, C.P., & Burley, V.J.