Adults aged 49 years and older who consume dietary fiber from breads, cereals, and fruits may increase their likelihood of successful aging over a period of 10 years, according to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

Successful aging status was defined as the absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases.

Bamini Gopinath, PhD, Centre for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,609 adults aged 49 years and older who did not have cancer, coronary artery disease, or stroke at baseline. Participants were followed for 10 years. The researchers wanted to examine the relationship between dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, sugar intake, and fiber intake with successful aging. Dietary data were collected using a 145-item Food Frequency Questionnaire. The investigators determined successful aging status via interviewer-administered questionnaire at each visit.

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Overall, 249 (15.5%) of the participants aged successfully after 10 years. Dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, and carbohydrate intake did not have significant associations with successful aging.

Participants in the highest quartile of total fiber intake had an increased likelihood of successful gaining compared with those in the lowest quartile (odds ratio [OR], 1.79). Participants who consistently consumed below the median amounts of fiber from breads/cereal and fruit were less likely to successfully age compared with the rest of the cohort (OR 0.53 and OR 0.64, respectively).

“These epidemiological data suggest that lifestyle interventions increasing the intake of fiber-rich foods could be a successful strategy in reaching old age disease free and fully functional,” wrote the researchers.


  1. Gopinath B, Flood VM, Kifley A, et al. Association between carbohydrate nutrition and successful aging over 10 years. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. Published online May 29, 2016. doi:10.1093/gerona/glw091.