This term ‘fibre’ encompasses a variety of molecules (complex carbohydrates) that are neither digested nor absorbed in the small intestine. They are often divided into either soluble or insoluble fibres.
Soluble fibres are fermentable and absorb water. They can be associated with a feeling of fullness. Some soluble fibres such as beta-glucan, which is found in oat or barley1, can also improve blood sugar levels and lower blood cholesterol. Insoluble fibres such as wheat bran do not absorb water. They help to improve intestinal transit.
It is generally agreed that an adult should consume at least 25-30 grams of fibre per day.
More and more studies show that a generous intake of dietary fibres reduces the risk of developing heart diseases,, diabetes, obesity and certain gastrointestinal disorders4.
1. European Commission. EU Register on nutrition and health claims. The claim may be used only for food which contains at least 1 g of beta-glucans from oats, oat bran, barley, barley bran, or from mixtures of these sources per quantified portion.
2. European Commission. EU Register on nutrition and health claims. These claims may be used only for food which is high in that fibre.
4. Slavin J. Whole grains and human health. Nutrition Research Review 2004;17:99110