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Study Shows Grain-Based Dietary Fiber Linked to Decrease in Deaths (Engels)

New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine show the strong health benefits of dietary fiber. The new report "Dietary Fiber Intake and Mortality in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study" shows a significant decrease in deaths of individuals whose diets were high in dietary fiber. Researchers Park et al performed the study over nine years in a cohort comprised of 388,000 participants ages 51-70.


As grain scientists, we have heard of the value of a diet rich in dietary fiber. However, the report comments specifically that "dietary fiber from grains, but not from other sources, was significantly inversely related to total and cause-specific death in both men and women." Dietary fiber, especially from grains, also was inversely associated with death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infectious and respiratory diseases.


Julie Miller Jones, chair of the AACC International Whole Grains Working Group, points out the opportunity this new study provides for AACC Intl. members. "The AARP-NIH study shows that those who eat the recommended amounts of dietary fiber actually lived longer. This is an opportunity for members to tout the benefits of cereal fiber and continue to develop more tasty, healthy options that will help consumers worldwide address the cereal fiber gap. Studies show that for most population subgroups, less than 10% meet the fiber requirement. In many groups, it is less than 5%. The benefits of cereal fiber are many, and the intake is pathetic. We need to get people to change."


Satya Jonnalagadda, chair of the AACC Intl. Nutrition Division, notes that this study adds to the scientific body of evidence regarding the health benefits associated with fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 Policy Document identified dietary fiber as one of the shortfall nutrients in the diets of Americans. This study should help raise awareness of the importance of fiber from grains for health purposes.


Co-chair of the AACC Intl. Dietary Fiber and Other Carbohydrates Technical Committee Stuart Craig commented that there is a "growing body of evidence on fiber health benefits that suggests there's something special about cereals compared to fruits and vegetables. The challenge for cereal science is to unequivocally identify the key factors."


The study has quickly gained notice, and was picked up by the Associated Press. The article also sparked an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine, titled "Do the Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber Extend Beyond Cardiovascular Disease?", where authors de Koning and Hu offer areas for further research in the health benefits of whole grains. de Koning also noted that whole grains contain antioxidants and minerals which may help reduce risks. "The appropriate public health recommendation should therefore be to increase consumption of whole grains at the expense of refined grains. Substituting whole grains for refined grains would provide benefits not only from fiber but also from other unique health-promoting components of whole grains," concluded de Koning and Hu.


AACC International offers many resources on dietary fiber, including the creation of a definition and comments proposed to various health agencies. Most recently, comments were provided to the Nutrition Evaluation Division of Health Canada regarding the proposed definition of dietary fiber. In addition, more than 360 articles on dietary fiber have been published in Cereal Chemistry, and 10 books are offered by AACC International PRESS on this subject. Recent publications include the new Oats: Chemistry and Technology featuring information on β-glucans, and the new Dietary Fibre: New Frontiers for Food and Health, covering up-to-date information on many areas of dietary fiber, including fiber and health, and glycemic response.


Bron: AACC International


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