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Expert comment: fibre and wholegrains important for longterm health

Commenting on a new study published in The Lancet, evaluating the benefits of fibre and whole-grain foods, Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, Associate Professor at Warwick Medical School, said:

“This study provides high quality evidence that a diet with high levels of fibre is associated with lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. There was some indication that this might be causal: i.e: that high levels of fibre protect people from these diseases. Similarly, diets containing wholegrains were found to be associated with lower risk of disease. This is more evidence in favour of increasing the fruit and vegetables in our diets, as well as for reducing processed food (such as refined grains) and eating wholegrains where possible.

"Actually I think one of the most interesting things about this is that people have been trying to distil the benefits of fruit and vegetables for so long- mainly focussed on the vitamin content. For example: there have been multiple trials of vitamin tablets hoping to see a reduction in these very diseases (CVD and cancer) but generally getting disappointing results. This suggests to me that the benefits to health probably accrue from the whole food: including the vitamins, the fibre, the water and the minerals (eg: potassium). This means it is likely to be difficult to artificially replace daily intake of fruit and vegetables with a single pill.”

11 January 2019

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