Chickpeas, common beans, dry peas, and lentils are pulse crops that have been a cornerstone of the human diet since the inception of agriculture. However, the displacement of pulses from the diet by low fiber protein alternatives has resulted in a pervasive deficiency referred to as the dietary fiber gap. Using an analytical method American Association of Analytical Chemists (AOAC) 2011.25 that conforms to the Codex Alimentarius Commission consensus definition for dietary fiber, the fiber content of these pulse crops was evaluated in seed types used for commercial production. These pulse crops have 2 to 3 times more fiber per 100 g edible portion than other dietary staples. Moreover, there is marked variation in fiber content among cultivars of the same crop. We conclude that pulse crop consumption should be emphasized in efforts to close the dietary fiber gap. The substantial differences in fiber content among currently available cultivars within a crop can be used to further improve gains in fiber intake without the need to change dietary habits. This provides a rationale for cultivar-based food labeling.
Keywords: AOAC 2011.25; chickpeas; common bean; dietary fiber; dietary fiber gap; dry peas; lentils; pulse crops.