Dietary Fiber and the Relationship to Chronic Diseases

Derek A. Timm, Joanne L Slavin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Preventative medicine is targeting chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Populations that consume more dietary fiber have less chronic disease. Intake of dietary fiber has beneficial effects on the risk factors for developing several chronic diseases. Dietary reference intakes recommend the consumption of 14 g of dietary fiber per 1000 kcal, or 25 g for women and 38 g for men, based on the goal of protection against cardiovascular disease. Usual intake of dietary fiber is only 16 g per day. Viscous fibers decrease the glycemic response and may assist in diabetes care. High-fiber diets provide bulk, are more satiating, and have been linked to lower body weights. Evidence that fiber decreases cancer is mixed, and further research is needed. Dietary messages to increase consumption of high-fiber foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables should be broadly supported by the medical profession. Consumers are also turning to fiber supplements and bulk laxatives as additional fiber sources. As many fiber supplements have not been studied for physiological effectiveness, the best advice is to consume fiber in foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • cardiovascular disease
  • chronic disease
  • dietary fiber
  • laxation


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