A Review of the Role of Soluble Fiber in Health with Specific Reference to Wheat Dextrin

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Journal of International Medical Research http://imr.sagepub.com/

A Review of the Role of Soluble Fiber in Health with Specific Reference to Wheat Dextrin JL Slavin, V Savarino, A Paredes-Diaz and G Fotopoulos Journal of International Medical Research 2009 37: 1 DOI: 10.1177/147323000903700101 The online version of this article can be found at: http://imr.sagepub.com/content/37/1/1

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The Journal of International Medical Research 2009; 37: 1 – 17

A Review of the Role of Soluble Fiber in Health with Specific Reference to Wheat Dextrin JL SLAVIN1, V SAVARINO2, A PAREDES-DIAZ3*
1

AND

G FOTOPOULOS4

Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota, USA; 2 Department of Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology Unit, Genoa, Italy; 3Novartis Consumer Health, Parsippany, New Jersey, USA; 4Novartis Consumer Health, Nyon, Switzerland dextrin, based on a search of PubMed. The evidence suggests that soluble fibers help to regulate the digestive system, may increase micronutrient absorption, stabilize blood glucose and lower serum lipids, may prevent several gastrointestinal disorders, and have an accepted role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. It is concluded that supplementation with soluble fibers (e.g. wheat dextrin) may be useful in individuals at risk of a lower than recommended dietary fiber intake. ACIDS;

Dietary fiber is widely recognized to have a beneficial role in overall health, but only at adequate levels (25 – 38 g/day for healthy adults). Wheat dextrin in particular is a soluble fiber that can easily be added to the diet and is widely used in the food industry. There is some debate about whether increased intake of soluble fibers leads to health benefits. This paper reviews the evidence regarding the physiological effects and potential health benefits of the addition of soluble dietary fibers, with specific reference to wheat

KEY WORDS: SOLUBLE FIBER; WHEAT DEXTRIN; SHORT-CHAIN FATTY PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; HEALTH BENEFITS

PREBIOTICS;

Introduction
Fiber, the indigestible part of plants such as cereals, fruits and vegetables (Table 1), has a fundamental role in the regulation of the digestive system and may help to prevent troublesome disorders such as constipation,1 – 3 diarrhea4 – 6 and irritable bowel syndrome.7 – 9 Fiber may also help to regulate the absorption of micronutrients,3,10,11 stabilize glucose12 – 14 and cholesterol levels,15 – 17 have a role in cardiovascular health18 – 20 and possibly help to prevent some forms of cancer.21 – 23 *Current address: 90 Possum Way, New Providence, NJ 07974, USA.

Many nutrition and healthcare professionals use the terms ‘soluble’ and ‘insoluble’ fibers for nutrition labeling.24 – 27 Soluble fibers dissolve in water and usually form a gel. They are generally fermented by bacteria in the lower intestine, but they are indigestible and hence not absorbed into the bloodstream.24,28 Soluble fibers also ferment to form short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate, acetate and propionate (Table 2).17,29 – 34 Short-chain fatty acids generate approximately 1 – 2 kcal/g of ingested fiber, so are used as an energy source by the intestinal

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JL Slavin, V Savarino, A Paredes-Diaz et al. The health benefits of soluble fiber

TABLE 1: Classification systems for fiber based on four different fiber characteristics Dietary fibers Lignin (polyphenolic compound, in cell walls of...
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