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Dietary Fiber Has a Protective Role Against Cardiovascular Disease

Its increased consumption is recommended, due to its benefits for improving many of the risk factors associated with heart disease.

Although increased consumption of dietary fiber is widely recommended to maintain or improve health, knowledge of the relation between dietary fiber sources and cardiovascular disease risk factors is limited. French researchers examined the relation between the source or type of dietary fiber intake and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a cohort of adult men and women in a cross-sectional study, in which quintiles of fiber intake were determined from dietary records, separately for 2532 men and 3429 women. Age and multivariate-controlled logistic models investigated the odds ratios of abnormal markers for quintiles 2-5 of fiber intake compared with the lowest quintile.

They found: “The highest total dietary fiber and nonsoluble dietary fiber intakes were associated with a significantly (P < 0.05) lower risk of overweight and elevated waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, plasma apolipoprotein (apo) B, apo B:apo A-I, cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and homocysteine. Soluble dietary fiber was less effective. Fiber from cereals was associated with a lower body mass index, blood pressure, and homocysteine concentration; fiber from vegetables with a lower blood pressure and homocysteine concentration; and fiber from fruit with a lower waist-to-hip ratio and blood pressure. Fiber from dried fruit or nuts and seeds was associated with a lower body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and fasting apo B and glucose concentrations. Fiber from pulses had no specific effect.”

The researchers concluded: “Dietary fiber intake is inversely correlated with several cardiovascular disease risk factors in both sexes, which supports its protective role against cardiovascular disease and recommendations for its increased consumption.”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 82, No. 6, 1185-1194, December 2005. Dietary fiber intake and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in French adults, Denis Lairon, Nathalie Arnault, Sandrine Bertrais, Richard Planells, Enora Clero, Serge Hercberg and Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault

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FACT: Obesity Now, Dementia Later? A Swedish study has revealed that people with a higher midlife BMI experience significantly more cases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia upon follow-up. Other risk factors for dementia included high systolic blood pressure and high total cholesterol, according to the study authors. The risk for dementia or AD increased two-fold in cases where patients had midlife obesity, high total cholesterol, and high systolic blood pressure. Those participants who suffered from all three risk factors had a six-fold higher risk for dementia than those who experienced no risk factors. The investigators did note, however, that simply being overweight in midlife was not significantly correlated with late-life dementia. The study was published in the October 2005 Archives of Neurology. An abstract of this study is available at http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/62/10/1556.