Health Implications of Dietary Fiber

Volume 115, Issue 11, Pages 1861-1870 (November 2015)

Abstract

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the public should consume adequate amounts of dietary fiber from a variety of plant foods. Dietary fiber is defined by the Institute of Medicine Food Nutrition Board as "nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants." Populations that consume more dietary fiber have less chronic disease. Higher intakes of dietary fiber reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, and have been associated with lower body weights. The Adequate Intake for fiber is 14 g total fiber per 1,000 kcal, or 25 g for adult women and 38 g for adult men, based on research demonstrating protection against coronary heart disease. Properties of dietary fiber, such as fermentability and viscosity, are thought to be important parameters influencing the risk of disease. Plant components associated with dietary fiber may also contribute to reduced disease risk. The mean intake of dietary fiber in the United States is 17 g/day with only 5 percent of the population meeting the Adequate Intake. Healthy adults and children can achieve adequate dietary fiber intakes by increasing their intake of plant foods while concurrently decreasing energy from foods high in added sugar and fat, and low in fiber. Dietary messages to increase consumption of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and nuts should be broadly supported by food and nutrition practitioners.