High fiber diet may increase longevity

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Some may start scouring their cupboards to dig into a fiber-rich meal after a study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which reveals that eating more fiber may help people live longer. Using data from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, researchers asked people between the ages of 50 and 71 what they ate and how frequently they ate it over the last year and then followed them for an average of nine years. What they found was that men and women who ingested the most fiber had a 22 percent lower risk of dying compared to those who consumed the least. Fiber-rich diets were associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, including those from cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and respiratory disease.

Even though all dietary forms of fiber were studied, the researchers found that grains were more strongly associated with a lower risk of death. When it comes to explaining their findings, however, the authors could only guess what the association could be.

“An obvious confounder,” ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross points out, “is that people who eat diets high in fiber are also probably more likely to lead healthier lifestyles overall. There is simply no good biological reason for this effect, so more prospective studies will be needed.”