Background: The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is increasing, especially in young individuals. Most of the previous studies that have investigated the association between dietary fibre intake and the metabolic syndrome are cross-sectional or of short duration, and their results are inconsistent. The present study investigated whether dietary fibre intake during adolescence has a protective effect on developing the metabolic syndrome as an adult.
Methods: Data on dietary intake and metabolic syndrome components were derived from a healthy sample of 174 men and 194 women who were followed-up from the age of 13 years onwards in the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study. Data were analysed with use of generalised estimating equations and linear regression analyses.
Results: The mean dietary fibre intake was 9.9 g/4.0 MJ (1000 kcal) during adolescence and 10.8 g/4.0 MJ (1000 kcal) at age 36 years. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome at age 36 years was 10.1%. No differences were found in the time-course of dietary fibre intake between subjects with and those without the metabolic syndrome or its components. Dietary fibre intake during adolescence was not related to the components of the metabolic syndrome at age 36 years, except for an inverse relationship with waist circumference, where a gram/4.0 MJ (1000 kcal) higher fibre intake was associated with a 0.44 cm smaller waist circumference (P = 0.03, 95% CI −0.85 to −0.04).
Conclusions: The present study found no association between dietary fibre intake and the metabolic syndrome in young adults. High fibre intake, however, was inversely associated with waist circumference.