Dietary fiber has well-established beneficial effects on laxation. Many fibers have been developed with positive sensory properties and 2 such fibers are polydextrose (PDX) and soluble corn fiber (SCF), which can be added to many commercially produced products. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study comparing the laxative effects of PDX and SCF at a dose of 20 g/d with a low fiber control (LFC) eaten daily as a muffin and cereal in 36 healthy men and women. Each treatment period was 10 d with a 2-wk washout period between. Participants collected fecal samples during the last 5 d of each treatment and completed food diaries and gastrointestinal tolerance questionnaires on d 1, 2, and 10 of each treatment period. Five-day fecal wet weight was higher after the PDX and SCF treatments than the LFC treatment (P ≤ 0.0007). The number of stools per day and daily fecal output also were significantly greater during the PDX treatment compared with the LFC treatment. The whole gut transit time did not differ among treatments. The PDX treatment resulted in a softer stool (P = 0.002) than the SCF and LFC treatments. Fecal pH was lowered by the PDX treatment (P = 0.02), whereas SCF tended to lower it compared with the LFC treatment (P = 0.07). When the participants consumed PDX and SCF, they reported significantly more flatulence and borborygmi compared with when they consumed the LFC. Consumption of PDX and SCF at a dose of 20 g/d results in a mild laxative effect with nominal gastrointestinal tolerance issues.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00958399.