Dietary fiber in the diets of urban Tunisian women: association of fiber intake with BMI, waist circumference and blood chemistry: preliminary study

Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2011 Nov;35(11):750-4. doi: 10.1016/j.clinre.2011.04.005. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Background: The change of the way of life and the food practices in Tunisia due inter alia to the improvement of the socioeconomic conditions induced low fuel consumption of food with significant nutritional interest such as those rich in food fibres which have positive effects on the reduction and the prevention of some complications of the metabolic diseases such as the obesity whose prevalence among Tunisian women is increasingly high.

Objective: We assessed the association between the mean daily fiber intake and anthropometric parameters, the serum lipid profile and the serum glucose concentration among urban Tunisian women.

Methods: We conducted a 7-day food weighing method among 260 women of which 60 are obese (BMI > 30 kg/m(2)). The weighing method was done by trained and experienced workers in the National Institute of Nutrition of Tunisia. All the results were treated with the (Bilnut) software (1991 version) to which a list of 235 special Tunisian foods was added. We calculated their mean daily fiber intake and we prospectively evaluated the correlations between it and the BMI, the waist circumference, total plasma cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglyceridemia and glycaemia.

Results: Obese women are found to consume less fiber than non-obese women (21.73 ± 3.25 g/day vs 26.25 ± 2.7 g/day; P<0.0001). Very high and significant correlations were observed between dietary fiber intake and the parameters investigated: BMI (r=-0.709, P<0.0001), waist circumference (r=-0.790; P<0.0001), total plasma cholesterol (r=-0.488; P<0.0001), triglyceridemia (r=-0.741; P<0.0001) and glycaemia (r=-0.557, P<0.0001). However, we find a positive but a non significant correlation with the HDL-cholesterol and the mean daily fiber intake (r=0.309; P=0.02).

Conclusions: This study provides additional support to the inverse association between fiber consumption and weight gain, the serum lipid profiles, the glycaemia and the waist circumference. Our findings emphasizes the relevance of increased the intakes of fiber from varied sources that may help avoid weight gain among obese adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Tunisia
  • Urban Health
  • Waist Circumference*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol