With summer coming to an end and school schedules resuming, I find myself falling back into more structured meal planning. Like many families, our summertime dinners are often simply grilled meats and vegetables paired with salads, fresh fruit and whole grain breads. But as the weather turns cooler, our dinner time choices also begin to … Continue reading
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).