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What is Dietary Fiber?

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Dietary fiber consists of the remnants of the edible plant cell, polysaccharides, lignin, and associated substances resistant to digestion (hydrolysis) by human alimentary enzymes. This physiological definition has been translated into a chemical method (AOAC Method 985.29), which has recently been shown to miss substances of 10, 11, and 12 degrees of polymerization. It also fails to precipitate some hydrolysis-resistant oligosaccharides which contain many physiological properties expected in dietary fiber, such as inulin and oligofructose, indigestible dextrin (Fibersol-2™), galactooligosaccharides and the synthetic polymer polydextrose. The Executive Board of the American Association of Cereal Chemists has appointed a committee to explore the possibility of expanding the definition or chemical methodology for dietary fiber to accommodate components that are not hydrolyzed by human alimentary enzymes, yet have the physiological attributes normally associated with dietary fiber. However, the present review suggests that the current definition is sufficient, along with new methodology, to detect recently discovered components of the dietary fiber complex.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: L. Prosky Associates, 10265 Nolan Dr, Rockville, MD 20850-3507.

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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