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June 15, 2020 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

Fiber on Par with Drugs

basket fruits and veggies
Dietary fiber has garnered a stunning list of health accolades over the past 25 years and thanks to a powerful new review study, this rock star nutrient can proudly shine even brighter. For this report scientists combined the results of 42 previously published, high-quality studies looking at the effects of increasing dietary fiber in those with all forms of diabetes – type 1, type 2, pregnancy-related, as well as prediabetes.
The results were wowing. Studies subjects who consumed 35 grams of fiber a day reduced their risk of early death by 35 percent relative to those consuming 15 grams or less. What’s more, simply by increasing fiber intake and/or eating more whole grains study subjects experienced consistent improvements in their blood sugar control, cholesterol levels, and weight control. According to the lead researcher the improvements were “as striking as that produced by medications.”
From a scientific standpoint, dietary fiber is simply a wonder compound. If you asked me to select the single most powerful thing a person could do to add years to their life and life to their years, it would be to increase their intake of fiber by consuming more unprocessed plant-based foods, particularly whole grains and beans.
Fruits and veggies make a hugely valuable contribution, but whole grains and beans are the two food groups that provide the most fiber measure for measure. In other words, your chances of getting even adequate fiber (30-35 grams a day) is slim unless you are consuming lots of whole grains and beans.
PLOS Medicine, 2020; 17 (3): e1003053 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003053
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