WHAT IS A NUTRITIONIST?
Nutritionists are experts in the science of how the food we eat affects our health and wellbeing. Besides being qualified to advise people about the best foods to choose for supporting their wellness, some nutritionists work in the food industry and make recommendations that affect health policy.
Our purpose is to be a global facilitator of health and wellness through access, education and advancement of Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM). The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that lifestyle-related diseases (or non-communicable diseases) are responsible for more than 70% of deaths worldwide each year.
Knowledge represents empowerment. By sharing this evidence-based, peer-reviewed research, we aim to support everyday people to take ownership of their wellness, by making informed decisions and choices in conjunction with their health professional.
How This Study Could Help Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease, a category which includes stroke and heart disease, is reported by the WHO to be the leading cause of death worldwide. This umbrella review examines the benefits of a high- fibre diet for reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and is titled:
DIETARY FIBER IS BENEFICIAL FOR THE PREVENTION OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE: AN UMBRELLA REVIEW OF META-ANALYSES
You can read the full study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5731843/
Why Is This Study Important?
The connection between diet and non- communicable diseases is well-established. It is also generally agreed that the different types of fibre found in food, such as soluble and insoluble fibre, are associated with wellness benefits ranging from gut health to a reduced risk of cancer.
A diet high in fibre is also associated with a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. Research suggests dietary fibre may reduce excessive levels of cholesterol in the blood, notably LDL (low-density lipoprotein), often described as ‘bad’ cholesterol. There is also evidence to suggest that increasing the amount of fibre in your diet can beneficially lower your blood pressure.
While much research has been conducted in this field, with similar overall conclusions about the benefits of a high-fibre diet, there are variations and inconsistencies between individual studies. This can make it challenging to draw statistically reliable conclusions that support a clear and unified message about the advantages of increasing dietary fibre intake.
Summarising consistent trends across a wide variety of studies can strengthen public confidence in the connection between fibre intake and potentially life-saving health benefits.
What Does This Mean For My Wellness?
This umbrella review provides further evidence that the more fibre you have in your diet, the lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke. Cardiovascular disease is associated with about one in three of all deaths worldwide, so highlighting the importance of fibre “for health promotion and disease prevention” may have life-saving consequences.
These findings support the Dietitians Association of Australia’s recommendation that adults should consume 25-30g of dietary fibre daily. In theory, the results of this study suggest that an even higher intake of fibre (up to 38g per day) may further reduce cardiovascular risk. However, some health authorities advise that consuming a very high content of dietary fibre (more than 40g per day) may be associated with a decrease in the body’s ability to absorb minerals such as zinc and iron.
The review also reported some minor side effects such as flatulence, loose stools and abdominal bloating or cramping. Despite this, the reported significant reduction in risks of cardiovascular disease brought about by an increase in fibre intake makes it a topic worth discussing with your medical professional.
How Does This Relate to Diet and Nutrition?
Nutritionists rely on evidence-based research to help them identify persistent challenges to optimal nutrition in the community. One such shortcoming is the relatively low intake of dietary fibre among the populations of developed countries.
In this umbrella review, published in 2017, a researcher affiliated with the National University of Health Sciences in Illinois, U.S., evaluated 31 meta- analyses of studies investigating the connection between dietary fibre intake and cardiovascular disease risk. The majority of the analyses selected for the article had a high average score for quality of evidence as the basis for identifying trends.
Lower-confidence research was also included to ensure a representative cross-section of existing studies. By pooling the “information from [many] individual trials”, the objective was to obtain a “more precise and accurate estimate” of how effectively fibre intake may reduce cardiovascular risk.
Key Findings About Benefits of Dietary Fibre Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease or Stroke
- The umbrella review found that the studies all supported a link between increased dietary fibre intake and a significantly reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
- For people who eat a high-fibre diet, the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke is estimated to be between 7% and 24% lower than for those who consume the least dietary fibre.
- The evidence reviewed in this study suggests that the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is reduced by approximately 17-28% for people who consume the highest quantities of dietary fibre.
- It was noted that several factors may contribute to this benefit, including a decrease in diastolic blood pressure (the pressure of blood in your arteries between heartbeats), improved LDL-cholesterol levels, and reduced inflammation.
- There was also evidence to indicate that even a small reduction in total cholesterol levels, associated with high fibre intake, “can potentially translate to a 10% to 20% reduction in the risk for developing cardiovascular disease.”
- Examples of dietary fibres used in the studies include beta-glucan, psyllium fibres and chitosan, and while the umbrella review did not thoroughly investigate the effects of different fibres, it was suggested that fibre derived from cereals and fruit “performed better than vegetable [fibre] in reducing cardiovascular mortality”.
The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to providing a forum for the chiropractic profession to disseminate information dedicated to the developing primary care emphasis within the profession.
Quoted from journal description
Cardiovascular Diseases | World Health Organization
Dietary Fiber Is Beneficial for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses | National Center for Biotechnology Information
Cholesterol | Better Health Channel
Nutrition | SoulAdvisor
What is a healthy blood pressure? | HealthDirect
Dietary fibre: key for a happy, healthy gut | Dietitians Association of Australia
Fibre in food | Better Health Channel
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine | Elsevier