3) Overall Mortality
The more fiber you eat, the longer you might live.
A new meta-analysis on dietary fiber shows that individuals who eat more fiber have lower risks of diabetes, colon cancer, and overall mortality.
The data was obtained through a meta-analysis from 243 studies. Researchers combined data from 135 million person-years to generate statistical models summarizing the effects of fiber on different health outcomes.
Individuals who ate more dietary fiber had a lower overall mortality rate, which measures risk of death from any cause. This effect appears to increase with higher amounts of dietary fiber consumed. Eating at least 30 grams of dietary fiber a day showed a stronger effect than eating 10-15 grams of dietary fiber a day.
Limitations of Self Reported Data
2) Colorectal Cancer
Eating more fiber correlates with a significantly lower risk of colorectal cancer, which causes 8.4% of cancer deaths in the United States.
The reasons behind this effect however aren't entirely clear:
Doctors aren’t quite sure why fiber protects against colon cancer, but some believe fiber helps move food through the digestive system faster, limiting the time potential carcinogens sit in the intestines. Fiber may also have anti-inflammatory properties.
The relationship between dietary fiber and colorectal cancer, which includes colon cancer, is one of the most studied relationships for dietary fiber. This has been a relatively controversial topic, with some experts claiming a beneficial effect and others claiming no effect. According to this meta-analysis, the combined effects of all the studies examined showed a beneficial effect. The amount of studies for this topic allowed researchers to estimate the relationship with higher precision, as shown by the thinner margin of error above.
1) Dietary Fiber and Diabetes
The most significant benefits were seen in diabetes risk. Individuals who ate high fiber diets had a dramatically lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which occurs in adulthood.
The effect was strongest for those who ate more than 20 grams of fiber per day. It is not entirely clear if the fiber itself is responsible for the lower risk, or whether food high in fiber is generally healthier. What we do know from this data is that people who eat lots of fiber are healthier.
5 Great Sources of Dietary Fiber
We've put together a graphic summarizing 5 great sources of fiber, according to health.gov. One of the best sources of fiber in terms of grams per 1/2 cup is high fiber cereals, such as Fiber One.
The best natural sources of fiber are typically beans and legumes. Lentils, chickpeas, and peas are all great ways increase your fiber intake naturally.