~ Fiber Intake Associated With Lipid And Hormone Improvement In Postmenopausal Women

óD Dye, Life Extension

The August 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutrition published the results of a study conducted by Alok Bhargava at the University of Houston which found improved lipid and hormone profiles associated with weight loss and increased fiber intake in postmenopausal women.

The current study analyzed data from 994 women enrolled in the Women's Health Trial: Feasibility Study in Minority Populations. In this study, one group of women were given advice by a nutritionist over a one year period concerning reducing fat and increasing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, while a control group received pamphlets which provided information on healthy eating.

Dietary intake was determined via questionnaires administered at the beginning of the study and at 6 and 12 months. Height, weight, waist and hip circumferences were measured and blood samples were analyzed for lipids, estradiol, serum hormone binding globulin (SHBG, for which reduced levels have been associated with diabetes risk), glucose, and insulin before beginning the study and at its conclusion.

At the end of twelve months, women who received the nutritional advice experienced a greater decrease in HDL and LDL cholesterol, and a greater increase in SHBG compared to the control group. These changes coincided with a reduction in saturated fat and calories, and an increase in dietary fiber. Women in the treatment group also experienced a reduction in weight, and hip and waist circumference.

Analysis of the data revealed greater fiber intake associated with lower insulin and triglycerides, and higher HDL levels in this group. Waist to hip ratio and BMI were found to be associated with increased insulin and lipids, and lower SHBG in both groups. "The results from our comprehensive analysis of the WHTFSMP data demonstrated the importance of reducing central obesity in particular and increasing the intakes of dietary fiber for improving the lipid, lipoprotein, and hormonal profiles of postmenopausal women," Dr Bhargava concluded.
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