Dietary fibre

Nutr Hosp. 2006 May;21 Suppl 2:60-71, 61-72.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Currently and after 30 years of research, dietary fibre is part of what is considered a healthy diet. There is no single definition yet comprising the different components of dietary fibre and its functions. The main factors of fibre are complex carbohydrates and lignin, although new products may be included in the future within the concept of fibre. Dietary fibres reach the large bowel and are attacked by colonic microflora, yielding short chain fatty acids, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane as fermentation products. Short chain fatty acids represent a way of recovering energy and they are also implicated in other beneficial functions for the human organism. Although there are no yet conclusive data on recommendations of different types of fibre, it is still appropriate to indicate a diet providing 20-35 g/day of fibre from different sources. There is a consensus to recommend a mixture of fibres or fibre like soybean polysaccharide for constipation. There are few conclusive data, still, on the benefit of fibre on prevention of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, a fibre-rich diet is recommended from early years of life since it is often associated to a lifestyle that in the long term helps controlling other risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Fiber* / analysis
  • Dietary Fiber* / metabolism
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diet therapy
  • Humans