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Why is fiber lurking in the shadows?

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Fiber is one of the best-studied ingredients in our diet. It is also by far the most health-giving ingredient.

As described in the book, fiber shows a strong correlation with significant reduction in all-cause-mortality (and linked to that a significant reduction in the risk of suffering from a range of big diseases (e.g., cardiovascular, cancer). (i) What makes the case that this is not just a spurious correlation and likely a causation, is that the effect is concentration dependent. In other words the more fiber we eat the higher the positive impact.

At a recent fruit industry conference that I attended, I was stunned by how much attention phytonutrients such as polyphenols are getting and how fiber is just a passing thought. Why is it that no one sees the elephant in the room?

The answer in my mind is simple: Specific polyphenols (e.g., grapeseed polyphenols) can and are patented, whereas fiber is much harder to patent as it appears that most fibers have about the same level and range of benefits

(i) There are many meta-analyses on the benefits of fiber, here are just two: Impact on all-cause mortality: Veronese N, Solmi M, Caruso MG, Giannelli G, Osella AR, Evangelou E, Maggi S, Fontana L, Stubbs B, Tzoulaki I. Dietary fiber and health outcomes: an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Mar 1;107(3):436-444; Impact on Cardiovascular disease: McRae MP. Dietary Fiber Is Beneficial for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med. 2017;16(4):289-299.

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