Dietary Fiber Gap and Host Gut Microbiota

Protein Pept Lett. 2017 May 10;24(5):388-396. doi: 10.2174/0929866524666170220113312.


Accumulating evidence is dramatically increasing the access to the facts that the gut microbiota plays a pivotal role in host metabolism and health, which revealed the possibility of a plethora of associations between gut bacteria and human diseases. Several functional roles are carried out by a major class of the host's diet, such as fiber. Fiber is the main source of microbiota-accessible carbohydrate in the diet of humans. In the modern diet, it is difficult to intake sufficient dietary fiber as recommended. The low-fiber diet in the modern life, known as fiber gap, can trigger a substantial depletion of the human gut microbiota diversity and beneficial metabolites. The short-chain fatty acids are regarded as one of the major microbial metabolites of dietary fibers, which can improve intestinal mucosal immunity, as well as to be a source of energy for the liver. Thus, the loss of microbiota diversity has a potential negative function to various aspects of host health. Actually, the real "fiber gap" for ideal health and maintaining microbial diversity might be even more serious than currently appreciated. Herein, we briefly discuss the interactions between gut microbiota and the host diet, focusing specifically on the low-fiber diet. Gut bacteria in the context of the development of host low-fiber diets, which may lead to health and disorders, particularly include metabolic syndrome and obesity-related disease, IBD liver, disease, and colorectal cancer.

Keywords: Fiber gap; gut microbiota; host health; metabolic disease; microbiota-accessible carbohydrate; protein turnover.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colorectal Neoplasms
  • Dietary Fiber*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Liver Diseases
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Mice
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled