What the Experts Say
The health benefits of dietary fiber are widely recognized by experts in the scientific community and by government authorities. For example, the European Food Safety Authority Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies noted in its Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for carbohydrates and dietary fiber (2010) that there is evidence of health benefits in adults associated with consumption of diets rich in fiber-containing foods at dietary fiber intakes greater than 25 grams/day, e.g. reduced risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes and weight maintenance.
Frequently, the health-related properties of dietary fiber are expressed in terms of physiological effects that have well established links to disease risk reduction. These include effects such as a decrease in intestinal transit time with an increase in stool bulk, colonic microbial fermentation, reduction in blood total and/or LDL cholesterol levels, reduction in postprandial blood glucose levels, and weight reduction through a lower caloric contribution to the diet. It is important to consume a variety of fibers for their unique effects for maximized health.
These and similar physiological effects that benefit overall human health serve as a basis for the recognition of a substance as a dietary fiber in several key global definitions, including the European Directive (in 2008), Codex Alimentarius (2009), and the Institute of Medicine (2005).
Below are a few quotes from expert groups about the benefits of fiber:
“Populations that consume more dietary fiber have less chronic disease. In addition, intake of dietary fiber has beneficial effects on risk factors for developing several chronic diseases.”
- American Dietetic Association
“Eating the right amount of fiber has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits. Foods that are high in fiber can help in the treatment of constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis (the inflammation of pouches in the digestive tract) and irritable bowel syndrome. Dietary fiber may also help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.”
- American Academy of Physicians
“When eaten regularly as part of a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, soluble fiber has been associated with increased diet quality and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Soluble or viscous fibers modestly reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol beyond levels achieved by a diet low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol alone.”
- American Heart Association
“Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, and you should get a least 20 grams a day, more is better.”
- Harvard School of Public Health