Recommendations for Dietary Fibre and Whole Grain Intake

Dietary fibre is the part of plant foods that is not digested and absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract in humans. In most countries the recommendation for dietary fibre intake is 25-35 g/day. Fibre intake should be increased, since in most countries, particularly in the Western Hemisphere, the intake today is clearly below the recommendation. Whole grain rye products, such as rye bread, crisp bread and rye flakes are excellent sources of dietary fibre.

According to the latest definition: "Dietary fibre is the edible parts of plants or analogous carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine. Dietary fibre includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignin, and associated plant substances. Dietary fibres promote beneficial physiological effects including laxation, and/or blood cholesterol attenuation, and/or blood glucose attenuation." (Anonymous 2001).

Though health experts may disagree on some aspects of nutrition, most agree on one important topic: dietary fibre. The general view is that we need to eat more of it, and by doing so we may prevent or possibly reverse many degenerative diseases.

In most western countries national nutrition committees recommend an adult intakes of 25-35 g/day of dietary fibres. The recommendation may be expressed in different ways, but generally it means an increase in fibre intake compared to the present situation (Cummings and Frolich 1993). The average diet contains only about 70% of this amount. The most important source of dietary fibre is cereals, especially rye. In Finland over 40% of dietary fibre comes from rye, in Denmark over 30%, in Sweden about 20% and in Norway less than 10%.

 

Dietary Fibre Intake (g/day) in Selected Countries


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Whole grain rye bread is an excellent source of dietary fibre containing about 10 g fibre/100 g bread. Crisp bread contains as much as 15 g fibre/100 g bread.

Dietary Fibre Contents of some Foodstuffs

Foodstuff

Total dietary fibre (*

Soluble fibre (*

Insoluble fibre (*

Rye bran
Wheat bran
Oat bran
Rye crispbread
Whole grain rye flour
Oat flakes
Rye bread
Barley flakes
Corn flakes
Wheat bread, dark
White rice, cooked
Flaxseed*
Raisins
Beans, brown
Muesli
Hazelnuts
Peas
Black currants
Blueberries
Carrot
Apple, without skin
Potato, cooked
Cucumber

39,0
37,5
17,5
15,6
13,9
11,0
11,0
9,1
2,7
3,6
0,8
32,6
3,1
6,7
8,2
17,5
3,1
5,8
3,3
2,9
1,8
2,1
1,1

2,2
1,8
1,8
2,2
2,2
4,5
1,4
1,0
0,4
0,7
0,1
8,9
0,9
3,2
0,8
0,3
0,3
1,9
0,5
0,5
0,7
1,0
0,2

11,4
36,3
16,7
11,4
11,4
4,6
7,4
6,6
1,7
2,9
0,8
23,7
2,2
3,5
5,5
5,7
2,8
3,0
2,6
2,4
0,4
1,1
0,9

*) g / 100 g
(National Public Health Institute, (Fineli), Finnish Food Composition Database 2005 www.ktl.fi/fineli, Li and Andrews 2002, *Swanson et al. 2001 )


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