25th March 2015: New Harvard research shows starting your day with a bowl of high fibre breakfast cereal could help you live longer.1

The study, published in BMC Medicine, revealed people with the highest cereal fibre intakes had a 19% reduced risk of death from all causes, 15% reduced risk of death from cancer and 34% reduced risk of death from diabetes.

The amount of cereal fibre they consumed was 10.22g a day. To place this into context, some Australian high-fibre breakfast cereals provide upwards of 10g of cereal fibre in a single serve.

For the study, Harvard researchers examined the diets of 367,442 people from the prospective National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study, with an average follow-up period of 14 years.

They found a diet high in cereal fibre reduced the risk of premature death from a range of chronic diseases including cancer (15%), heart disease (20%), respiratory disease (21%) and diabetes (34%). This was compared to people with the lowest cereal fibre intakes (2.02g) and accounted for lifestyle factors such as health, physical activity and obesity.

In addition to the benefits of cereal fibre, the study reported that eating an average of 34g of whole grains a day was associated with a 17% reduced risk of death from all causes, an 11% reduced risk of death from respiratory disease, and a 48 % reduction in the risk of diabetes.

Researchers stated that cereal fibre may provide multiple protective properties such as anti-inflammatory effects and that the protective effects of whole grains may be due, at least in the main part, to its cereal fibre component.

“There is strong scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of diets that are higher in cereal fibre and this research continues to build on several studies published in the past year that link greater cereal fibre consumption with longevity,” said dietitian and Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum Director Leigh Reeve.

“In Australia, breakfast cereal is one of the main sources of fibre in our diets contributing 10.6% towards our daily fibre intake per capita, and even more for Australians who eat breakfast cereal regularly.2

“If you are looking for a breakfast option that is higher in fibre look for a high fibre or whole grain breakfast cereal or mix high fibre cereals into your current favourite. The average bowl of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, muesli or oats contains around 4g of fibre3, with some higher fibre options containing upwards of 10g a serve.”

Issued on behalf of ABCMF

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1. Huang et al. Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber and total and cause-specific mortality: prospective analysis of 367,442 individuals.BMC Medicine 2015; 13:59 DOI 10.1186/s12916-015-0294-7 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/13/59

2Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Food and Nutrients, 2-11-12. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (see downloads table 10).

3. Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council GLNC 2014 Grains and Legumes Product Audit. Unpublished: 2014

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