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Findings Indicate that a High Fiber Diet Paired with medical treatment May Reduce Future Cardiac Disease

A study presented at the recently held the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Middle East Conference 2019 together with the 10th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress, finds that patients with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes who consume a high fiber diet had improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting glucose. The conference was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from Oct. 3-5.

High Fiber Food Photo Credit: National Institute of Health Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease

Hypertension and diabetes are major risk factors for future cardiovascular disease. Diet also plays a role in the severity of cardiovascular disease. Researchers from Care Well Heart and Super Specialty Hospital (CWHSSH) in Amritsar, India, investigated the relation between a high fiber diet and its impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors.

 According to guidelines from the National Institute of Nutrition and the Indian Council of Medical Research, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for dietary fiber is 40gm/2000kcal. Researchers say that patients in this study had Type 2 diabetes and a calorie intake of 1,200-1,500kcal, causing their RDA for fiber to be 24-30gm. The fiber intake of these patients was increased up to 20 to 25 percent from the recommended allowances for them to be consuming a high fiber diet, .

The CWHSSH study tracked 200 participants’ fiber intake for six months and included check-ups at the beginning of the study, three months and six months later. Participants were provided diet prescriptions, which included detailed lists of different food groups with portion sizes in regional languages. Qualified dietitians provided the information through regular counseling sessions and used audio-visual aids to ensure understanding among study participants.

Taking a Close Look at Fiber Intake 

During the study, the researchers tracked participants’ fiber intake several ways, including having patients send photos of their meals on WhatsApp—which not only helped in knowing their fiber intake but also helped approximate portion sizes—and telephone calls three times a week during which detailed dietary recall was taken.

“Comprehensive evaluation of etiological effects of dietary factors on cardiometabolic outcomes, their quantitative effects and corresponding optimal intakes are well-established,” said Rohit Kapoor, MD, medical director of Care Well Heart and Super Specialty Hospital and lead author of the study. “This study helps us determine three important things for this patient population.

First, a high fiber diet is important in cases of diabetes and hypertension to prevent future cardiovascular disease. Secondly, medical nutrition Therapy and regular counseling sessions also hold great importance in treating and prevention of diabetes and hypertension. Thirdly, this type of diet in combination with treatment can improve dyslipidemia, pulse wave velocity, waist-to-hip ratio and hypertension,” says Kapoor.

The study findings indicated that participants on a high fiber diet experienced significant improvement in several cardiovascular risk factors, including a 9 percent reduction in serum cholesterol, 23 percent reduction in triglycerides, 15 percent reduction of systolic blood pressure and a 28 percent reduction of fasting glucose.  A high fiber diet is inversely related with cardiovascular risk factors and plays a protective role against cardiovascular disease, says the researchers.

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