Dr Wendy Wrieden, Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) and Principal Research Associate at the Human Nutrition Research Centre, Newcastle University
I first remember hearing about the importance of fibre in maintaining bowel health when studying nutrition at Cambridge in the 70s. John Cummings was one of my lecturers and now, over 40 years later, he is one of the coauthors of a paper that recently hit the headlines. There was already plenty of evidence suggesting dietary fibre and whole grain foods protect against bowel cancer, but this study confirmed that higher intake of fibre reduces the risk of a wide range of diseases including heart disease, stroke and bowel cancer. Denis Burkitt warned us over 50 years ago about the dangers of processing and removing fibre from cereal based foods – a message that still gets far too little air time!
Fruit and vegetables contain fibre, but we need more in our diets in the form of whole grains. It is encouraging that wholewheat and brown varieties of pasta and rice have become more widely available in supermarkets and porridge, wholemeal and granary breads and wholewheat cereals are also easily obtained. But try eating out or staying in a hotel and your fibre intake can plummet! At best you might be able to get a bowl of whole grain cereal at breakfast but vegetable portions are miserably poor and often come at extra cost. Wholewheat pizza bases are now available in some pizza chains, but wholewheat pasta and rice are rare.
So let’s start a revolution…. join me in always asking for whole grains and decent portions of vegetables in restaurants and write to senior management if they are not available. Vegan food is now widely available..why not whole grain?
To find out more about increasing your fibre and how whole grains reduce
bowel cancer, visit:
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eatwell/ how-to-get-more-fibre-into-yourdiet/# tips-to-increase-your-fibre-intake
http://www.aicr.org/enews/2017/ september/enews-new-colorectalcancer- report-whole-grains-lower-risk-processed- meat-increases.html