Rise in fibre intake can tackle type 2 diabetes

Published: 26 June 2014 at 16:16

Anglia Ruskin Public Health expert works on study into health effects of carbohydrates

A new report issued today recommends that increasing fibre intake will help to tackle type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition at Public Health England set out their recommendations, which include increasing the amount of daily fibre from 25g to 30g and limiting the amount of added sugars to only 5% of a person’s daily energy intake. 

The level of recommended fibre intake is the point where the protective effects of fibre start to level off, rather than the point where they decrease. 

An individual receives 30g of fibre from 12 slices of wholemeal bread (or 23 slices of white bread). Equally, white spaghetti contains less than half the fibre of wholemeal spaghetti, so there is a clear advantage of choosing wholemeal and wholegrain foods over more refined food.

Dr Marie-Ann Ha of Anglia Ruskin University was on secondment to the secretariat for the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition at Public Health England, working solely on the report on the health effects of carbohydrates.

Dr Ha, Senior Lecturer in Primary & Public Health at Anglia Ruskin, said:

“This is the practical way to decrease sugar intake.  The types of foods that tend to be high in fibre such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains also tend to be low in added sugars.
“So if you snack on higher fibre foods and include them regularly in your diet in place of high sugar foods your intake of added sugars from snacks and foods will naturally decrease.
“Also, foods that are higher in dietary fibre tend to be less processed. The lower levels of processing means that the end product will have a lower carbon footprint, there are less bi-products and there will be a decrease in food waste, for example brown rice versus polished white rice. This contributes to a more sustainable and resilient food system.
“Setting a clear recommendation that added sugars should only form 5% of daily energy intake is also incredibly important. These are commonly found in products such as sugar sweetened drinks and are one of the main causes of the obesity crisis in this country.”

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s draft report Carbohydrates and Health is now undergoing a nine-week public consultation.