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Modjeska Herndon

HUN 3230
Assignment 1
October 1, 2015
Summary of Position Paper on Dietary Fiber
A paper published in 2008, from the American Dietetic Association, states that it is the
position of the American Dietetic Association that the public should consume adequate amounts
of dietary fiber from a variety of plant foods. The Institute of Medicine published a new set of
definitions for dietary fiber in 2002. These new definitions suggest that the term total fiber be
used as the sum of dietary fiber and functional fiber. Dietary fiber means the nondigestible
carbohydrates and lignin that are naturally occurring in plants. Functional fiber refers to the
isolated nondigestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans. Fibers
can also be fermented inside the intestine or passed through the digestive tract unfermented.
Since fiber cannot be digested and therefore not absorbed, there is no biochemical assay that
reflects upon the nutritional status of fiber. Since data is unavailable in order to determine an
Estimated Average Requirement, which is used to calculate a Recommended Dietary Allowance,
an Adequate Intake was created. It was suggested by the DRI development panel that the
recommended intakes of total fiber can also help improve constipation and diverticular disease,
provide fuel for colon cells, reduce blood glucose and lipid levels, and provide a source of
nutrient-rich, low energy-dense foods that may contribute to satiety, however these benefits were
not taken into account when developing the AI.
The ADA states that the 2005 US Dietary Guidelines recommend high-fiber foods such
as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and fiber intake levels of 14g/1,000kcal, while the Nutrition
Facts label displays 25 g dietary fiber per day for the 2,000 kcal/day diet or 30 g/day for a 2,500
kcal/day diet as the American intake goal. Multiple definitions of dietary fiber exist and are
based on both analytical and physiological methods. The ADA states that dietary fiber is
primarily the storage and cell wall polysaccharides of plants that cannot be hydrolyzed by human
digestive enzymes. Dietary Fiber was split into soluble and insoluble fiber in an attempt to allot
physiologic effects to chemical types of fiber. Food labels may still use the terms soluble fiber
and insoluble fiber, even though the Institute of Medicine recommend that those terms not be
used. Dietary fiber includes polysaccharides, plant carbohydrates that are not recovered by
alcohol precipitation, lignin, and some resistant starch.
It has been shown that populations have less chronic disease when consuming more
dietary fiber. The position paper from the ADA on dietary fiber used ADAs Evidence Analysis
Process and information from ADAs Evidence Analysis Library. The four topics included in the
evidence analysis were: cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal health and disease, weight
control, and diabetes. According to recent data, adequate dietary fiber intake from whole grains
may lower blood pressure, improve serum lipid levels and reduce indicators of inflammation.
Benefits may be seen with intakes of 12 to 33 g of fiber per day from whole foods. Fiber sources
including cereal brans, psyllium seed husk, methylcellulose, and a mixed high-fiber diet, increase
stool weight, thereby promoting normal laxation in healthy individuals. However, there is a lack
of data examining the impact of fiber from whole foods on outcomes in gastrointestinal diseases.
This is likely due to the cost and complexity of the studies. Current data shows that dietary fiber
intake from whole foods or supplements may have some benefit in terms of weight loss with
intakes of 20 to 27 g of fiber per day from whole foods. Diets, which provide 30 to 50 g of fiber
per day from whole food sources, continue to produce lower serum glucose levels compared to a

low-fiber diet. Intake of 10 to 29 g per day may also have some benefit in terms of glycemic
control. The studies on dietary fiber and cancer are inconsistent; therefore, the relationship
between cancer and dietary fiber was not included in the dietary fiber Evidence Analysis Library.
There are many other roles of fiber in health. The functional fiber inulin has been shown
to have prebiotic activity, but methods to document how a fiber is deemed a prebiotic is still
developing. Other functional fibers known to alter the intestinal microflora may eventually be
deemed prebiotics. There are also some potential negative effects of dietary fiber. These include:
reduced absorption of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and energy. Another negative effect of fiber is
the fermentation of dietary fiber or other nondigested carbohydrates by anaerobic bacteria in the
large intestine produces gas, including carbon dioxide, which may be related to complaints of
distention and flatulence. To prevent this, fluid intake should increase while fiber increases
slowly to allow the body time to adapt.
Updated Information on Dietary Fiber
Tonstad, Malik, and Haddad, preformed a randomized control trial looking at the
difference between a high-fiber bean-rich diet versus a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity and
weight loss. Low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets have been used as the model for care in weight
loss and obesity; unfortunately, these diets have not been shown to be beneficial in the
prevention of chronic disease1. High-fiber diets however have been promoted for both weight
loss and disease prevention1. The study design of this trial was preformed as a proof of concept
study, with two groups of participants that were randomly assigned to one of two diets: (1) a
high-fiber bean-rich diet with approximately 40 g of fiber per day for women and 50 g per day
for men or (2) a low-carbohydrate consuming less than 120 g per day1. The results of this study
were based off of anthropometric measurements, laboratory analysis, and dietary compliance.
After 16 weeks of following the diet protocol, both groups showed a decrease in weight, BMI,
weight and hip circumferences, and blood pressure1. However, no significant differences were
observed between both groups after controlling for baseline measures1. The high-fiber group in
this study showed significantly decreased atherogenic lipids compared to the low-carbohydrate
group1. After 52 weeks, BMI and waist circumference tended to be lower in the group following
a low-carbohydrate diet, while the high-fiber diet showed a lower total cholesterol1.
Maki, et al, performed another study aiming to look at the relationship between
consumption of dietary fiber and weight loss. This study looked at the use of whole-grain readyto-eat oat cereal as part of a dietary program for weight loss, while also reducing low-density
lipoprotein cholesterol in adults who are overweight or obese2. This study used generally healthy,
adult men and women, ages 20 to 65, with a body mass index between 25 and 452. Participants
followed the prescribed diet for 12 weeks and kept dietary journals to track the foods consumed2.
Anthropometric, blood pressure, and laboratory measurements were recorded throughout the
study. The results of this study showed that whole-grain oat cereal could lower LDL cholesterol
levels in both men and women when consumed as part of a dietary program for weight loss
better than weight loss programs that include low-fiber control foods2.
Based on the two studies present, it has been decided that while some results from the
studies may agree with the findings discussed in the position paper from the American Dietetic
Association on dietary fiber, more research needs to be done before the findings on fiber can
become concrete. However, the results of many studies on fiber and its relationship with chronic
disease and weight loss look promising. Although not all of the effects of fiber on human
nutrition are known, the position of the American Dietetic Association stating that the public

should consume adequate amounts of dietary fiber from a variety of plant foods is still

1) Tonstad S., Malik N. & Haddad E. (2014) A high-fibre bean-rich diet versus a lowcarbohydrate diet for obesity. J Hum Nutr Diet. 27(Suppl. 2):109116
2) Maki K. C., Beiseigel J. M., Jonnalagadda S. S., et al. (2010) Whole-grain ready-to-rat
oat cereal, as part of a dietary program for weight loss, reduces low-density lipoprotein
cholesterol in adults with overweight and obesity more than a dietary program including
low-fiber control foods. J Am Diet Assoc. 110(2):205-214
3) American Dietetic Association. (2008) Position of the American Dietetic Association:
Health implications of dietary fiber. J Am Diet Assoc. 108:1716-1731