Dietary fibre definition revisited - The case of low molecular weight carbohydrates

Stribling, Philippa and Ibrahim, Fandi (0023) Dietary fibre definition revisited - The case of low molecular weight carbohydrates. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, 55. pp. 340-356. ISSN 2405-4577

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Low molecular weight (LMW) non-digestible carbohydrates (namely, oligosaccharides and inulin) are accepted as dietary fibre in many countries worldwide. The inclusion of oligosaccharides as dietary fibre was made optional within the Codex Alimentarius definition in 2009, which has caused great controversy. Inulin is accepted as dietary fibre by default, due to being a non-digestible carbohydrate polymer. Oligosaccharides and inulin occur naturally in numerous foods and are frequently incorporated into commonly consumed food products for a variety of purposes, such as to increase dietary fibre content.

LMW non-digestible carbohydrates, due to their rapid fermentation in the proximal colon, may cause deleterious effects in individuals with functional bowel disorders (FBDs) and, as such, are excluded on the low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and polyols) diet and similar protocols. Their addition to food products as dietary fibre allows the use of associated nutrition/health claims, causing a paradox for those with FBDs, which is further complicated by lack of clarity on food labelling. Therefore, this review aimed to discuss whether the inclusion of LMW non-digestible carbohydrates within the Codex definition of dietary fibre is warranted.

This review provides justification for the exclusion of oligosaccharides and inulin from the Codex definition of dietary fibre. LMW non-digestible carbohydrates could, instead, be placed in their own category as prebiotics, recognised for their specific functional properties, or considered food additives, whereby they are not promoted for being beneficial for health. This would preserve the concept of dietary fibre being a universally beneficial dietary component for all individuals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dietary fibre, Oligosaccharides, Inulin, Codex alimentarius, Functional bowel disorders, Irritable bowel syndrome
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Health & Science > Department of Science & Technology
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2023 10:43
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2023 10:43

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