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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY: Broad Protective Factors of Dietary Fiber

Research has shown that dietary fiber intake is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, studies have shown that most Americans do not consume the recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber. To summarize the current knowledge regarding dietary fiber, sources of food containing fiber, atherosclerosis, and heart disease risk reduction, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy Associate Professor Dr. Ghada Soliman conducted a review published in the journal Nutrients.

Dr. Soliman explains that incorporating dietary fiber into one’s diet can help lower LDL-cholesterol via several mechanisms. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms gel-like material which binds and sequesters cholesterol, and thus decreases hepatic lipid absorption and increases excretion, which in turn lowers blood lipid levels. Dietary fiber is not digested or absorbed and therefore, does not provide calories, but can be degraded by gut bacteria to generate short-chain fatty acids, which may help to lower blood cholesterol.

Dietary fiber as part of a healthy eating pattern has protective effects against a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, obesity, and colorectal cancer. The recommended daily intake is 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men. Dr. Soliman notes that dietary fiber can also be used as a dietary change to complement statin monotherapy to lower total and LDL-cholesterol, and to reduce the prescribed dose of statin, decrease its side effects, and improve the drug tolerability.

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