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Cochrane corner: does increasing intake of dietary fibre help prevent cardiovascular disease?
  1. Emma Loveman1,
  2. Jill Colquitt1,
  3. Karen Rees2
  1. 1Effective Evidence LLP, Eastleigh, UK
  2. 2Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karen Rees, Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK; Karen.Rees{at}warwick.ac.uk

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Background

Targeting modifiable cardiovascular risk factors is the key priority for public health in preventing the onset of cardiovascular disease (CVD). One area that has received a lot of attention is the intake of certain dietary components and patterns which have been linked to the development of CVD,1 and a key focus of research has been identifying dietary components and patterns which may reduce the risk of CVD. Some food manufacturers have exploited this message in their marketing strategies, for example, claiming that their products are ‘heart healthy’. But how much of this is based on high-quality systematic reviews? Evidence for the potential benefits of various dietary components and patterns has been reviewed by the Cochrane Heart Group over recent years and the current review on dietary fibre adds to this evidence base. We have conducted a Cochrane review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to investigate the potential effects of increasing dietary fibre to reduce CVD events and risk factors.2

There are thought to be several potential mechanisms by which fibre can lower CVD risk, including reducing the effect of postprandial blood glucose and lipid increases,3 increasing satiety and reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol through increased bile …

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