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Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

New Horizons for the Study of Dietary Fiber and Health: A Review

  • Stacey Fuller
  • Eleanor Beck
  • Hayfa Salman
  • Linda Tapsell
Review Article

Abstract

Dietary fibre has been consumed for centuries with known health benefits, but defining dietary fibre is a real challenge. From a functional perspective, dietary fibre is described as supporting laxation, attenuating blood glucose responses and assisting with cholesterol lowering. The problem is different types of dietary fibre have different effects, and new effects are increasingly observed, such as the influence on gut microbiota. Thus, a single definition may need to be described in more generic terms. Rather than being bound by a few functional definitions, we may need to embrace the possibilities of new horizons, and derive a working definition of dietary fibre based on a set of conceptual principles, rather than the limited definitions we have to date. To begin this process, a review of individual fibre types and their physiological effects would be helpful. Dietary fibre is a complex group of substances, and there is a growing interest in specific effects linked to fibre type. Different fractions of dietary fibre have different physiological properties, yet there is a paucity of literature covering the effects of all fibres. This paper describes a range of individual fibre types and identifies gaps in the literature which may expose new directions for a working definition of dietary fibre.

Keywords

Dietary fibre Cereal fibre Health benefits Whole grain Cereals Fibre methods 

Abbreviations

AACC

American Association of Cereal Chemists

CAC

Codex Alimentarius Commission

FNB

Food and Nutrition Board

EC

European Commission

FSANZ

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand

DP

Degree of polymerization

HMWDF

High molecular weight dietary fibre

LMWDF

Low molecular weight dietary fibre

DF

Dietary fibre

CVD

Cardiovascular disease

FOS

Fructooligosaccharides

GOS

Galactooligosaccharides

MW

Molecular weight

AX

Arabinoxylan

SCFA

Short chain fatty acid

HDL

High density lipoprotein

LDL

Low density lipoprotein

VLDL

Very low density lipoprotein

GCD

Gamma-cyclodextrin

MD

Maltodextrin

RS

Resistant starch

GIP

Gastric inhibitory protein

AUC

Area under the curve

FDA

Food and Drug Administration

EFSA

European Food Safety Authority

AXOS

Arabinoxylan oligosaccharides

BMI

Body mass index

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

LT is a member of the California Walnuts Commission Science Advisory Committee and a member of the McCormick Science Institute Advisory Committee.

Conflict of Interest

The other authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stacey Fuller
    • 1
  • Eleanor Beck
    • 1
  • Hayfa Salman
    • 2
  • Linda Tapsell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health and Illawarra Health and Medical Research InstituteUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Grain GrowersNorth RydeAustralia

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