The singular term “dietary fiber” gives the notion of a single nutrient. That impression is further reinforced by the listing of “Dietary Fiber” on the Nutrition Facts. The plural, “dietary fibers,” however, more accurately describes the collection of individual fibers we eat, from wheat to oats, barley, beans, bananas and more. The fibers we eat are digested and metabolized differently which contribute to their different health benefits. These health benefits divide into three categories:
- Bulking: Fibers which hold water and add bulk. They improve regularity. Examples: wheat flour, psyllium.
- Viscosity: Fibers which lower cholesterol and, if consumed in sufficient quantities, lower glucose after eating. Examples: beta-glucan from oats and barley.
- Fermentation: Fibers fermented slowly in the large intestine which in turn increase the beneficial bacteria. They produce short-chain fatty acids which trigger positive changes in gene expression and hormones involved in hunger, appetite, glucose control and insulin sensitivity. Example: resistant starch from high amylose corn (i.e., Hi-maize).
Less than 4% of Americans ages 4 to 501 and across all population segments meet the current dietary fiber recommendation of 21-38 g/day2. Because the evidence continues to demonstrate that fermentable fibers and a healthy microbiome within the large intestine play a large role in overall health, make sure that you’re including fermentable fibers in your recommendations for dietary fiberS.
In this newsletter, learn more about Dr. Mike Keenan’s exciting research on the health benefits of Hi-maize resistant starch and find out some favorite ways people are bringing resistant starch to the table.
Here’s to your health!
Hope Warshaw, RD, CDE
- Marriott BP, Olsho L, Hadden L, Connor P. Intake of added sugars and selected nutrients in the United States, national Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006. Cr Rev Food Scie Nutr. 2010;50:228-258.
U.S Department of Agriculture; Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 [cited 2012 June 6].
MANINIS Gluten Free Miracolo Pane Classic Peasant Bread Mix is made with resistant starch.