We have all been told to eat our vegetables.


One reason is the fibre in vegetables keeps us regular – prevents constipation.


What else does fibre do?

Numerous studies have shown that people who consume high levels of dietary fibre have less disease and live longer that those who don’t.

A new study published in March 2018 discusses the effects of dietary fibre on telomere length.


What are Telomeres?

Telomeres are specific protein caps at both ends of chromosomes.  A simple way to understand them is to think of them like the caps that protect the ends of shoe laces.

We all age as the telomeres shorten. They have also been called the molecular clock of cells. The faster this clock ticks away the faster we age

Is there a way to decrease the rate of shortening of the telomeres? Or to slow this clock down?

You may have guessed that answer from the title of this blog.

Yes, it’s fibre.

I will come back to fibre in a minute as I want to talk about the effect of telomeres on health.

Individuals with shorter telomeres tend to have higher rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis including other chronic conditions.

Obese individuals have shorter telomeres that normal weight persons. Smokers have shorter telomeres. Low quality and quantity of sleep are important predictors of telomere length.

On the positive side adults who engage in higher levels of exercise have longer telomeres than those that do not.

Some foods contribute to longer telomeres and therefore reduce biologic ageing and other foods account for shorter telomeres.

People who consume high levels of nuts and seeds tend to have longer telomeres. Similarly with people who consume higher intake of fruit and vegetables

Now back to fibre.


What do Telomeres have to do with fibre?

Studies have shown that diseases common to advancing age such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer are less common in those who have a high fibre intake.

In the study that I have mentioned above, they looked at just under 6000 adults in USA. They studied them for 4 years recording their fibre intake and measuring their telomere lengths.

The results?

The more fibre they consumed the longer their telomere length.

If you want the scientific specifics, here they are. For each 10 g increase in fibre per 1000 kcal there would  be a 4.3 fewer years of biologic ageing.

Other specifics. For each 200 kcal of nuts and seeds consumed per day, adults have 1.7 years less biological ageing.

On the other hand consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks appears to increase cell ageing by 1.8 years for each 250ml serving per day.

The bottom line with fibre is to increase your fibre intake with vegetables, nuts and seeds (if allowed on your specific diets) and complex carbs (again if allowed in treatment of your condition).

If  you are confused as to what you can and can’t have within your prescribed diet, help is at hand. We have just added a nutritionist to our team. She will be able to unravel these diets for you. She is here to help all of you who are having difficulty with your diet plans whether it is for SIBO, low FODMAPs, gluten and dairy free etc.

You can call us at 03-9867 1817 to make an appointment with her.

Yours in health
Dr Iggy Soosay