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Dietary fiber may cut risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease

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By David Liu, PHD

Saturday June 2, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Eating food high in fiber may help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The study led by researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University shows that adolescents who don't eat enough fiber are more likely to have bigger bellies and higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers in their blood, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Dr. Norman Pollock, coauthor of the study and colleagues studied 559 adolescents age 14 to 18 residing in Augusta Ga and found on average they ate only one-third of the daily recommended amount of fiber.

High fiber foods include vegetables, whole grains and fruits.  In other words, the subjects in the study did not eat enough plant foods.  

Eating plant-based diet is known to be associated with lower risk for coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease.  Studies found patients with coronary heart disease in 99% cases stopped progression of their disease or even reverse heart disease.  Even President Bill Clinton who suffered heart problem has now become a follower of a plant-based diet and he lost excessive weight and feels much better than ever.

The researchers said only about 1 percent of the study subjects consumed the recommended daily intake of 28 grams for females and 38 grams for males. 

The study correlated lower dietary intake of fiber with higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers in adolescents including immune cells called cytokines, and lower levels of protective adiponection, a protein that helps the body use blood sugar and fight inflammation. Adiponection tends to be lower in people who have excessive fat or are obese.

Eating a diet low in fiber more likely resulted in more of the visceral fat in and around major organs in the adolescents' abdominal cavity, the researchers found.

The researchers said it remains unknown high fiber helps stave off the unhealthy consequences.  A health observer suggested that low dietary intake of fiber means high intake of meat and fat and processed food which tend to lead to obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is a leading killer in the United States.  And an estimated 26 million Americans now live with type 2 diabetes.

To avoid heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and other chronic diseases such as cancer, one may try to eat a plant-based diet. 

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