In 1960, 871 middle-aged men in the town of Zutphen, The Netherlands, participated in a survey of risk indicators (including diet) for coronary heart disease (CHD). Information was collected about the usual food intake for the 6--12 months before the interview by the cross-check dietary history method. During 10 years of follow-up, 107 men died from all causes, 37 from CHD, and 44 from cancer. Mortality from CHD was about four times higher for men in the lowest quintile of dietary-fibre intake than for those in the highest quintile, but this inverse relation disappeared after multivariate analyses. Rates of death from cancer and from all causes were about three times higher for men in the lowest quintile of dietary-fibre intake than for those in the highest quintile, and these relations persisted after multivariate analyses. A diet containing at least 37 g dietary fibre per day may be protective against chronic diseases in Western societies.