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The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre

Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry CV2 2DX, UK
Division of Biomedical Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
NIHR CRF Human Metabolism Research Unit, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry CV2 2DX, UK
Department of Clinical Nutrition, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116, 14558 Nuthetal, Germany
Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung e.V., Geschäftsstelle am Helmholtz-Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstraße, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité University Medicine, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12203 Berlin, Germany
Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 3209;
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 11 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 21 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Diet and Nutrition in Preventing Abdominal Obesity)
Background: Dietary fibre consists of non-digestible forms of carbohydrate, usually as polysaccharides that originate from plant-based foods. Over recent decades, our diet within Westernised societies has changed radically from that of our hominid ancestors, with implications for our co-evolved gut microbiota. This includes increased ingestion of ultra-processed foods that are typically impoverished of dietary fibre, and associated reduction in the intake of fibre-replete plant-based foods. Over recent decades, there has been a transformation in our understanding of the health benefits of dietary fibre. Objective: To explore the current medical literature on the health benefits of dietary fibre, with a focus on overall metabolic health. Data Sources: We performed a narrative review, based on relevant articles written in English from a PubMed search, using the terms ‘dietary fibre and metabolic health’. Results: In the Western world, our diets are impoverished of fibre. Dietary fibre intake associates with overall metabolic health (through key pathways that include insulin sensitivity) and a variety of other pathologies that include cardiovascular disease, colonic health, gut motility and risk for colorectal carcinoma. Dietary fibre intake also correlates with mortality. The gut microflora functions as an important mediator of the beneficial effects of dietary fibre, including the regulation of appetite, metabolic processes and chronic inflammatory pathways. Conclusions: Multiple factors contribute to our fibre-impoverished modern diet. Given the plethora of scientific evidence that corroborate the multiple and varied health benefits of dietary fibre, and the risks associated with a diet that lacks fibre, the optimization of fibre within our diets represents an important public health strategy to improve both metabolic and overall health. If implemented successfully, this strategy would likely result in substantial future health benefits for the population. View Full-Text
Keywords: dietary fibre; gut microflora; obesity dietary fibre; gut microflora; obesity
MDPI and ACS Style

Barber, T.M.; Kabisch, S.; Pfeiffer, A.F.H.; Weickert, M.O. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3209.

AMA Style

Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020; 12(10):3209.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Barber, Thomas M., Stefan Kabisch, Andreas F.H. Pfeiffer, and Martin O. Weickert. 2020. "The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre" Nutrients 12, no. 10: 3209.

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