- It is not just the calories that matter in a healthy diet
- Fibre in its various forms is found in fruits, vegetables, etc
- The low fibre diets rapidly lead to weight gain, high blood sugar levels
For the research, the team of scientists helped shed some light on how and why fibre has such a powerful effect on the entire body, using mice. "Once the mechanism is understood, it can be exploited in different ways to promote health," said Andrew Gewirtz, from Georgia State University in the US. "This will allow ways to modify diets to maximise those benefits," Gewirtz said.
Fibre in its various forms is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and even whole grains. So-called western diets that are high in fat and sugars but low in fibre have long been associated with an increased risk of inflammatory bowel diseases, weight gain and diabetes.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that the average person's fibre intake in a Western country has drastically reduced over the past few decades," said Fredrik Backhed, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
The study started by feeding a group of mice a diet that was quite low in fibre. As a result, the low fibre diets rapidly led to weight gain, high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in the mice. The study also found that mice developed problems with the protective mucus layer in the colon just after three to seven days of eating low-fibre diet.
Simply enriching processed food with purified fibres might offer some health benefits. However, researchers still need to understand more of the very complex interplay between food, bacteria and host.
With Inputs from PTI