NewsletterPublic HealthWhole Grains

Fibre – ask why, not how

Executive summary

* This week's note is about fibre. A recently published paper assumed that there is an optimal fibre intake (25-30g daily) and it investigated how people can be encouraged to consume this.

* The evidence presented in the paper, to make the claims about optimal levels of fibre intake, came from population studies.

* Cereals were singled out as especially beneficial for health. The lead author of the paper had a number of conflicts with cereal companies.

* The authors reported that only 7.4% of US adults consume adequate fibre intake. The authors concluded that this was because people are ignorant. Their recommendations were patronising in consequence.

* There is no robust, quality, evidence to support the authors’ starting point – that 25-30g fibre daily is required. The epidemiological studies, upon which they rely, have fundamental flaws. There is a large, long randomised controlled trial on this research question, but the authors ignored it.

* When it comes to fibre, we should be asking why, not how.


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