Previous prospective studies have found the incidence of intestinal diverticular disease decreased with increasing intakes of dietary fibre, but associations by the fibre source are less well characterized.
Dr Francesca Crowe and colleagues from the United Kingdom assessed these associations in a large UK prospective study of middle-aged women.
During 6 years follow-up of 690,075 women without known diverticular disease who had not changed their diet in the last 5 years, 17,325 were admitted to hospital or died with diverticular disease.
Dietary fibre intake was assessed using a validated 40-item food questionnaire and remeasured 1 year later in 4265 randomly-selected women.
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The team noted that mean total dietary fibre intake at baseline was 14 g/day, of which 42% came from cereals, 22% from fruits, 19% from vegetables, and 15% from potatoes.
The researchers found that the relative risk for diverticular disease per 5 g/day fibre intake was 0.86.
The team observed significant heterogeneity by the 4 main sources of fibre, with relative risks, adjusted for each of the other sources of dietary fibre of 0.84 per 5 g/day for cereal, 0.81 per 5 g/day for fruit, 1.03 per 5 g/day for vegetable, and 1.04 per 1 g/day for potato fibre.
Dr Crowe's team concludes, "A higher intake of dietary fibre is associated with a reduced risk of diverticular disease."
"The associations with diverticular disease appear to vary by fibre source, and the reasons for this variation are unclear."