Andrea Burgener makes a bold statement in writing that there’s no research showing that eating fibre or whole grains causes less cancer or heart disease (“Standing up to the breakfast police”, July 12).  

Clearly she has not read widely enough. As recently as January 10 this year the UK Guardian reported that no less than the World Health Organisation (WHO) had commissioned a “landmark review” of the subject and the results will “inform forthcoming WHO guidelines” on diet. The research was conducted by a team at the University of Otago led by Prof Jim Mann, who also carried out the previous WHO-commissioned review that subsequently “informed WHO guidance on curbing sugar in the diet, leading to sugar taxes around the world”.

I quote from the report: “Mann told The Guardian that the research ‘does contribute to the debate considerably. Here we have got very strong evidence that a high-fibre diet, which for the majority of people is at least high-ish in carbohydrates, has an enormous protective effect. A wide range of diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, benefit from a high-carbohydrate diet.’”

Further, “For every 8g increase in dietary fibre eaten per day, total deaths and incidences of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer decreased by 5%-27%. Protection against stroke and breast cancer also increased.”

Finally, John Cummings, emeritus professor of experimental gastroenterology at the University of Dundee, one of the authors, said: “We now know that fibre does things in the body which give us a credible explanation for how this works.”

On balance, it would appear that there is both good cause for readers to eat their fibre and for Burgener to eat her hat!

Greg Short
Claremont