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Current Understanding of Dietary Fiber and Its Role in Chronic Diseases.

Dietary fiber (DF) is an essential, albeit under-consumed, component in the North American diet. DF is thought to have anti-inflammatory disease-modifying effects via DF-related gut microbiota degradation products called short chain fatty acids. Thus far studies have shown the greatest associations between DF intake and risk reduction in obesity, improved weight loss outcomes, and risk reduction of cardiovascular disease (CVD). There is weak evidence associating DF intake and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) risk, IBD remission, reduced risk of Crohn's disease (CD flares, and no evidence showing any benefit towards ulcerative colitis (UC) specifically. Evidence on DF intake and the risk reduction of colorectal cancer (CRC) has been equivocal. Studies were limited by a lack of randomization or in controlling fiber types and sources. Based on the current beneficial associations of DF on obesity management and CVD, counseling patients to increase DF intake may be a cost-effective measure to decrease the burden of chronic disease.

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