Game-changing new study on the easy way to good health

Porridge anyone?

Dietary fibre - the easy way to a healthier you

A new study in the Lancet analysed a huge amount of data and examined people's intake of carbohydrates and related them back to a range of non-communicable diseases.

Life-changing outcomes for those eating the highest amounts of dietary fibre

  • 15–30% decrease in mortality and incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and colorectal (bowel) cancer
  • Significantly lower body weight, blood pressure and total cholesterol
  • Risk reduction greatest people when eat between 25 g and 29 g a day
  • Indications that higher intakes of dietary fibre could confer even greater benefit to protect against cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal and breast cancer, with similar findings for wholegrain intake observed.

The implementation of recommendations to increase dietary fibre intake and to replace refined grains with whole grains is therefore expected to greatly benefit human health.

There does not appear to be any specific recommendation in the UK in relation to wholegrain intake, but if you eat enough of the right type of fibre, you will be getting a good intake. PHE recommends adults consume at least 30 grams of fibre a day and in the US it's higher. However, most people around the world are eating less than 20g of fibre a day. And in the UK, less than one in 10 adults eats 30g of fibre daily. On average, women consume about 17g, and men 21g, a day.

A survey found that 95% of people in the UK surveyed did not understand how much fibre they eat, often because of a lack of understanding of where to find wholegrain/fibre and why it was beneficial. There's a really good table that tells you more about servings of wholegrain.

A healthy, balanced diet can provide enough fibre – especially if you eat your 5 A DAY and choose wholegrain foods and potatoes in skins. Below is a sample meal plan that together provides more than the recommended amount of fibre over a day:

• Breakfast: Bran flakes 40g, fibre 8g with 1 banana, sliced 100g, fibre 1.5g
• Snack: Apple 100g, fibre 2.4g
• Lunch: Baked beans 150g, fibre 6.8g with wholemeal toast (2 slices) 70g, fibre 4.7g
• Dinner: Baked potato with skin, tuna mayonnaise 180g, fibre 6.5g with salad (lettuce, tomato and cucumber) 138g, fibre 1.7g
• Dessert: Low fat yogurt 150g, fibre 0g with strawberries 100g fibre 1.5g and chopped almonds 13g, fibre 1.3g
• Total fibre intake 34.4g.

Take a look at the NHS page on how to get more fibre into your diet.

Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Read the Lancet study