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Title: Dietary fibre, bowel function and health
Author: Davies, Gloria Jill
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1983
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The work reported in this thesis was designed to determine the validity of the 'fibre-hypothesis' in western society. Free living individuals resident in the United Kingdom were the subject of investigation. Omnivores, vegetarians and vegans were studied in order to ensure a wide range of fibre intakes and the amount of fibre eaten ranged from 10 to 78 grams per day. Disease pattern was assessed using a questionnaire. Seven hundred and fifty people were matched for age, sex and diet, and ten dietary groups were identified, ranging from life-long vegetarians to life-long omnivores. The former group in comparison with the latter, had a lower incidence, delayed onset, lower severity and fewer disease associations. Many people who increased their fibre intake by changing to a vegetarian diet reported that the change to such a diet had relieved certain disease symptoms particularly constipation. Dietary intakes and parameters of bowel function including transit time, stool characteristics: frequency, wet weight, rheology and form, were measured in a sub-sample. Fifty-one subjects were then matched for age, sex, diet, time of year and health. In comparison with omnivores vegetarians ate significantly more fibre, and this was significantly correlated with the measures of bowel function. As fibre intake increased transit time decreased, stool frequency and wet weight increased and stools became softer and unformed. The formed smooth cylindrical or snake-like stools of vegetarians might be considered desirable and the associated intake of about 40 grams of fibre daily a recommended amount.The achievement by omnivores of fibre intakes comparable to those of vegetarians shows that drastic changes in eating habits are not necessary in order to achieve this goal. If the goal is achieved, the proportion of energy derived from complex carbohydrate is increased at the expense of that from fat, thus meeting major recommendations for a prudent diet. The suggested intake is to be regarded as an interim recommendation until more is known about variations in bowel function, particularly faecal form, with time and endocrinological phases in females.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medicine