Gastrointestinal Responses to Dietary Fiber

  • Barbara O. Schneeman
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 270)


Various sources of dietary fiber can slow the process of digestion and absorption of macronutrients. It is likely that the physical properties of fiber sources such as particle size, viscosity, water-holding capacity and gel formation, and bile acid binding capacity are important in determining the effect of a fiber source on gastrointestinal function and nutrient absorption. The effects of fiber on gastrointestinal function have recently been reviewed (Schneeman, 1987, 1989; Vahouny and Cassidy, 1985) and several mechanisms have been suggested by which the physical properties of fiber slow digestion and absorption. In reviewing the experimental evidence it is clear that dietary fibers can affect the functioning of all of the gastrointestinal organs. For example, viscous polysaccharides slow gastric emptying and hence the rate of nutrient delivery to the small intestine. Within the small intestine various types of fiber can interfere with digestive enzyme activity, slow diffusion and mixing, and bind components from micelles.


Bile Acid Dietary Fiber Wheat Bran Intestinal Content Postprandial Lipemia 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara O. Schneeman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NutritionUniversity of CaliforniaDavisAntarctica

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