July 24, 2024


Health is important

Fibre – ask why, not how – Diet & Health Today

Fibre – ask why, not how – Diet & Health Today


This week’s note comes from my most prolific paper finder – Dr Peter Brukner from Australia. I don’t manage to do all the papers that Peter sends through, but they’re usually varied and interesting, so I try to cover as many as possible. This one is on a classic topic, which keeps coming up – fibre – or fiber, as it’s spelled in the US.

The paper was published in the BMJ in July 2022 and it was called “Fibre intake for optimal health: how can healthcare professionals support people to reach dietary recommendations?” written by McKeown et al (Ref 1). It was part of the BMJ SwissRe “Food for Thought” collaboration, which disappointed me, as I thought that this collaboration was focused on challenging the status quo, not indulging it (Ref 2). The title tells us the researchers’ beliefs – there’s an optimal intake of fibre; how can we ensure that people consume this?

I’ve been particularly outspoken about fibre. The main reasons for this are 1) the claims made about fibre are not evidence based and I don’t like claims being presented as evidence based when they’re not. 2) I think that fibre is being promoted as the only ‘justification’ left for pushing carbohydrates and 3) fibre health claims are made so often and so stridently that they need countering. I’m by no means the only person countering them. However, collectively, our counters are tiny relative to the relentless fibre public relations campaign.