Dietary fibre intake is inversely associated with carotid intima-media thickness: a cross-sectional assessment in the PREDIMED study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Oct;63(10):1213-9. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.45. Epub 2009 Jun 24.


Objective: To assess the association between the intake of dietary fibre and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in a Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk.

Methods: Baseline cross-sectional assessment of 457 men and women (average age 67 years) from two different Spanish centres of the PREDIMED trial. A previously validated food frequency questionnaire (137 food items) was administered by trained dieticians in a face-to-face interview. Mean common carotid IMT was measured using B-mode ultrasound imaging of the right and left carotid arteries by four certified sonographers who used a common protocol. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were performed and samples of fasting blood were obtained. Participants were categorized into four groups (roughly quartiles: < or =21; >21 to < or =25; >25 to < or =31 and >31 g/day) of energy-adjusted intake of dietary fibre. Multiple linear regression models were used to adjust for age, sex, centre, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, blood pressure, lipid levels and statin use.

Results: In the crude analyses, energy-adjusted fibre intake showed a significant inverse correlation with IMT (r=-0.27, P<0.001). In multivariate analyses, a modest, though statistically significant (P=0.03) inverse association between energy-adjusted fibre intake and IMT was also found. The multivariate-adjusted difference in average IMT was -0.051 mm (95% confidence interval: -0.094 to-0.009, P=0.02) for participants whose intake was >35 g/day, (n=47) when compared with those whose intake was <25 g/day (n=224).

Conclusions: Our results suggest that high fibre intake is inversely associated with carotid atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology*
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Intima / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography