Lack of fibre causing Australians' upset tummies


The CSIRO wants Australians to include more fibre in their diets, not just to loose weight but to improve their gut health.

Australians are not getting enough fibre in their diets with more than half having gut problems as a result.

The warning comes as new research by Australian scientists finds a link between poor gut health and obesity.

With two-thirds of Australian adults considered either overweight or obese, the CSIRO is calling on people to adopt high-fibre diets to combat failing gut health.

"Overweight and obese people are more likely to experience poor gut health symptoms, things like heart burn, just abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, irregular bowl habits," said Dr Gilly Hendrie, CSIRO Research Scientist.

A CSIRO report titled Gut Health and Weight loss, released on Thursday, says 50 per cent of Australians experience gut health problems.

One in seven experience distressing gut health symptoms, while 83 per cent aren't getting enough fibre in their diets.

It's a trend that's happening around the world, said Dr Hendrie.

"Similar with other developed countries such as America and the UK. We all over-consume junk and under-consume vegetables and to some extent fruit as well," said Dr Hendrie.

"People who are overweight or obese generally have less than the recommended amount of fibre in their diet," he added.

Fibre the key to good gut health

Nutritionists say that fruit, vegetables and whole grains are the high fibre foods that can feed good bacteria in our digestive system and improve gut health.

"These plant based foods are rich in dietary fibre which are a fuel for the microbes or bacteria that live in our large intenstine," said Damien Belobrajdic, CSIRO researcher.

High protein foods and legumes also recommended by dietitians.

"To make sure that your diet has got a range of dietary fibres in it is not just about total fibre anymore," said Simone Austin from the Dietary Association of Australia.

Symptoms of poor gut health

  • Bloated stomach
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Growling stomach
  • Constipation/diarrhoea
  • Frequent nausea
  • Excessive burping

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