Dietary Fiber in Health and Disease

  • C. S. Pitchumoni
  • C. S. Pitchumoni
  • C. S. Pitchumoni
  • Fisseha Y. Ghidey


Dietary fiber (DF) was originally defined as the edible component of plants resistant to digestion and absorption by humans in the small intestine, with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestines. Current definition includes functional fiber sources: polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignins, and associated substances. DF is water soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber includes cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignins while soluble fiber is categorized into gums, mucilages, pectins, and β-glucans. DF has a wide variety of physiological functions including the ability to retain water, form gel, increase viscosity, thereby increasing the bulk, exchange cations, form products of bacterial degradation in the large intestine and modulate immunity. Functions include decrease in glucose absorption and lipid lowering, weight reduction, possible prevention of colon cancer and polyps, and benefits in the prevention of constipation and diverticular disease. The current recommendation for intake of DF is 14 g per 1,000 kcal/day. The most frequent side effect encountered with a high fiber diet is poor acceptability and tolerance especially in the elderly. Side effects include gaseousness, bloating, diffuse abdominal pain, and diarrhea. A concern has also been raised about DF on the impairment of absorption of trace elements particularly in those with marginal intake of minerals.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Dietary Fiber Short Chain Fatty Acid Glycemic Index Soluble Fiber 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. S. Pitchumoni
    • 1
  • C. S. Pitchumoni
    • 2
  • C. S. Pitchumoni
    • 3
  • Fisseha Y. Ghidey
    • 4
  1. 1.Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, Drexel University School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.New York Medical CollegeVallhalaUSA
  3. 3.Gastroenterology, Hepatology and NutritionSaint Peter’s University HospitalNew BrunswickUSA
  4. 4.Department of Internal MedicineSaint Peter’s University HospitalNew BrunswickUSA

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