Evolutionary roles of dietary fiber in succeeding metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its responses to a lifestyle modification program: A Brazilian community-based study

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Background: It is thought that our genomic heritage from late Paleolithic man,40,000-100,000 years ago, influenced not only our phenotype, but also our physiological functions. Our ancestors, for approximately 84,000 generations, survived on a regimen in which plants constituted from 50 to 80% of their diet. Later during the Neolithic agricultural period, our ancestors increased fiber intake even more to amounts that would have exceeded 100g/day. Thereafter, the industrial and agro business eras (200 years ago), and the digital age (2 generations ago) have distanced the nutrition from its primate and Paleolithic ancestors. It is known that fiber, and its sources, whole grain, fruits, and vegetables are also rich in minerals, vitamins, phenolic compounds, phytoestrogens, and related antioxidants. Thus, in conjunction with the discordance between our ancient genetically determined biology and the nutritional, cultural, and activity patterns in contemporary populations that adopted the western lifestyle, many of the so-called disease of our time have emerged. Consumption of grain products milled from all edible components of grains, have been inversely associated with mortality from a number of chronic diseases. Objective: To find the determinants of dietary fiber intake and its role in metabolic syndrome (MetS) in a community based intervention. Design: It was a cross-sectional study of the relationship of ingested fibers with demographic, socieconomic, anthropometric, overall health perception, and specific pathognomonic markers for obesity and MetS and each of its components. The analysis came from baseline data obtained from participants of both sexes, over 35 years of age, enrolled during the 2007-2013 period (n= 605), in the ongoing dynamic cohort, Botucatu longitudinal study Move for health and conducted by professionals from the Nutritional and Exercise Metabolism Centre (CeMENutri) of the Botucatu Medical School (SP, Brazil). Results: Even in the highest quartile, dietary fiber was far below the daily recommended intake, along with its source of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The quartile distribution of dietary fiber intake was not influenced by any of the study variables (demographic, socieconomic, anthropometric, overall health perception, or specific pathognomonic markers for obesity and MetS); however, in association-designed studies we had found that low dietary fiber intake and its sources represent a risk factor for insulin resistance, high-blood pressure and the presence of MetS. Moreover, in longitudinal studies with lifestyle changing (LISC) interventions, we noted a faster resolution of MetS when individuals met the recommended daily dietary fiber intake than only with LISC isolated. Conclusion: Overall individuals had a high caloric diet and a low intake of all sources of fiber. These results were irrespective to age, gender, literacy and economic reasons, probably cultural, what makes the solution more difficult. However, when these subjects were enrolled in intervention programs with LISC it was found that adding dietary fiber to the diet was an effective booster for faster resolution of MetS. Therefore, the diet adequacy of fiber seems to work by diluting the energy intake that would potentiate the higher energy expenditure of physical exercise in promoting weight (body fat) loss, along with insulin sensitivity, vasodilation, lower inflammation states, etc.




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Dietary Fiber: Production Challenges, Food Sources and Health Benefits, p. 57-68.

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