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Influence of raw banana and apple upon disappearance of complex carbohydrates from the alimentary tracts of normal children


The disappearance of unavailable carbohydrates from the alimentary tracts of 9 normal children, ages 5 to 8 years, was determined during pre-experimental periods of 30 to 55 consecutive days for each child and experimental periods of 20 to 50 consecutive days immediately following for each subject. The diets of the children were composed of the same foods but the quantities varied according to the size and activity of the individual. All of the children received an additional 100 grams of banana per day in the experimental regimen although the added fruit was substituted for bread and cereal in the diets of 5 subjects and one subject received the additional banana plus more potato, bread and butter in the experimental period diet.

The addition or substitution of conservative amounts of banana (one or two medium sized) did not change the caloric intake of any subject more than 4 calories per kilogram of body weight. On a unit weight basis the average intake of water was increased approximately 3 grams. While the average intake of cellulose was increased approximately 3 mg. per kilogram of body weight the average per cent of intake disappearing in the tracts increased only slightly, from 73 per cent at the beginning to 75 per cent later. The average intake of hemicellulose decreased 8 mg. per kilogram of body weight but the average per cent of intake disappearing increased from 60 to 63 per cent. The average nitrogen intake was decreased 10 mg. (500 to 490) per kilogram of body weight per day during the experimental period but during this interval the average daily nitrogen retention per kilogram of body weight increased from 13 to 23 mg. The average laxation rate increased from 1.5 to 1.7 and the average wet and dry weights of the feces dropped from 4.5 to 4.4 grams and 0.77 to 0.74 grams, respectively, per kilogram of body weight.

The variations of the individuals in disappearance of fiber from the tract are shown to be characteristic and are related to the proportions of lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose in the daily diet more closely than to total quantity intake of fiber, although the form in which the unavailable carbohydrates are ingested and other factors (vitamins, pectin, tannin, etc.) probably play an important part in determining the physiologic response to altered intake of unavailable carbohydrates.

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Shepherd, M.L., Hummel, F.C., Macy, I.G. et al. Influence of raw banana and apple upon disappearance of complex carbohydrates from the alimentary tracts of normal children. Jour. D. D. 7, 248–252 (1940).

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  • Cellulose
  • Pectin
  • Digestive Tract
  • Laxation Rate
  • Pellagra