Life Extension Update
Friday, April 20, 2012. An article published online on February 27, 2012 in the journal PLoS One revealed a protective effect for fiber against ischemic cardiovascular disease in women.
Peter Wallström of Lund University and his associates evaluated data from 8,139 men and 12,535 women aged 44 to 73 years who participated in the Swedish population-based Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort, which enrolled residents of Malmö, Sweden between 1991 and 1996. Interview responses and seven-day dietary records were analyzed for the intake of energy, fats, fiber, carbohydrates and other macronutrients. Participants were followed for an average of 13.5 years, during which 1,089 men and 687 women developed ischemic cardiovascular disease.
While no significant associations were found between cardiovascular disease and fat or other dietary components, women whose fiber intake was among the top one-fifth of subjects had a 24 percent lower risk of ischemic cardiovascular disease compared to those whose intake was among the lowest fifth. For men, having a fiber intake that was among the top fifth was associated with a 31 percent lower adjusted risk of ischemic stroke. "Women who ate a diet high in fiber had an almost 25 per cent lower risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease compared with women who ate a low-fiber diet," Dr Wallström affirmed. "In men the effect was less pronounced. However, the results confirmed that a high-fiber diet does at least protect men from stroke."
Although the researchers are uncertain about the reason for the gender difference, they suggest that women may consume healthier fiber sources, in the form of fruit and vegetables, compared to men, whose primary source of fiber in this study was bread. "The difference in the results for men and women shows that we need to pay more attention to gender when we conduct research on diet," Dr Wallström noted.
"These results should be interpreted with a certain amount of caution," he warned. "Almost everyone eats more saturated fat than recommended, including the participants in many other population studies. It is therefore difficult to compare recommended and high fat intake. Other types of studies that have been carried out have shown that those who limit their fat and sugar intake are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease."
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