Fibers (dietary fiber, more rarely non-nutritive carbohydrates) are largely indigestible dietary constituents, mostly carbohydrates, which occur predominantly in plant foods. They are found mainly in cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes and in small quantities in milk. For the sake of simplicity, one divides the fiber into water-soluble (such as locust bean gum, guar, pectin and dextrin’s) and water-insoluble (for example, cellulose). Dietary fiber is now, quite differently than the name suggests, as an important part of the human diet. The EU Nutrition Labelling Regulation gives them a gross calorific value of 2kcal /g.
Dietary fiber increases satiety and affect the carbohydrate metabolism for example by lowering fasting and postprandial blood glucose concentrations. By increasing the binding and excretion of bile acids, fiber can lower the cholesterol concentration and thus the risk of coronary heart disease. Due to their water-binding capacity, they increase the viscosity of the chyme and the stool weight. Thus, dysfunction of the intestine, such as constipation, can be prevented with a high intake of dietary fiber.
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