Dietary Fiber

  • Aliza Stark
  • Zecharia Madar


The first step in deciphering the function of dietary fiber is understanding that it is not a uniform substance. Dietary fiber is a mixture of many complex organic substances, each having unique physical and chemical properties. Although a single definition has yet to be agreed upon, dietary fiber is commonly defined as “plant polysaccharides and lignin which are resistant to hydrolysis by the digestive enzymes of man” (Trowell et al. 1976). Plant cell wall material containing cellulose, hemicellulose, pectic substances, and lignin are the major components of dietary fiber (Selvendran, Stevens, and Du Pont 1987). In addition, mucilages, gums, algal polysaccharides, and synthetic polysaccharides are also considered dietary fiber. Except for lignin, dietary fibers are carbohydrate in nature, and it has been suggested that the measurement of nonstarch polysaccharides (NSP) is more accurate than determination of “dietary fiber” (Englyst et al. 1987). On the other hand, it has been proposed that starch that is not digested in the small intestine and reaches the colon (resistantstarch) is chemically and physically similar to other nondigestable polysaccharides and should therefore be included in the definition of dietary fiber (Asp 1990).


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Dietary Fiber Wheat Bran Glycemic Index Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patient 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

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  • Aliza Stark
  • Zecharia Madar

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