Even though fermentation is influenced by the type of bacterial flora used, fermentation rate and extent of different DF preparations can be compared in vitro. Although these in vitro methodologies have limitations, they provide predictive tools about DF physiologic potential, which can be use in selecting materials for verification in vivo.
DF characteristics are also known to affect gut microbiota composition Special methods have been suggested to evaluate the prebiotic potential of DF sources On the other hand, prebiotics have also been considered as too narrow of a concept considering the multiple interactions between nondigestible carbohydrates and the gut microbiota This definition expands the concept to possibly include noncarbohydrate substances and applications to body sites other than the gastrointestinal tract. Especially in long-term studies, it is important to consider the link between fermentability of DF and its food sources by bacteria in vitro and its potential to affect gut signaling in vivo.
In more complex DF-containing ingredients and foods, the noncarbohydrate parts of DF sources will also be metabolized and phytochemicals converted to metabolites that may also play a role in DF-associated signaling. These effects can also be predicted in vitro to estimate the potential physiologic effects of, for example, the phenolic constituents in DF sources 49 , As stated above, the study design and DF analyses should be planned according to the research hypothesis.
When considering acute e. Here, the rheological properties of DF clearly play a dominant role, and hence should be measured. When the follow-up time is longer, contributions of colonic fermentation can additionally be considered, and hypotheses derived from knowledge about DF fermentability become increasingly relevant. In this case, the molecular composition and ability of DF to support the growth of gut microbiota are of interest.
Depending on the existing background diet of the study population and amounts of DF to be added, these data may indicate that a longer study duration would be justified. As noted, however, a potential role of non-DF components in DF-rich foods and ingredients should also be considered 60 , The reference or control treatment is an essential part of the study design and also determined by the specific research question. When the research question is whether a specific type or source of DF influences the physiologic outcome of interest, the control treatment should be the same diet without that DF [i.
The amount and type of DF in the background diet should also be reported. Unless pure extracts are used, however, such a design will always examine effects of the DF source as a whole, in most cases meaning a mixture of various DFs.
When instead the research question pertains to the influence of a particular DF characteristic and related mechanism of action, various forms or levels of the physicochemical characteristic of one specific DF source may be compared with each other, and the control should then contain the same amount of DF as the test group or groups but with different characteristics.
In these cases, not only the effects of the amount and presence of a particular DF can be studied but also the role of the specific DF properties and functionality on the physiologic outcome. Similarly, different DF sources with quantified variations in specific characteristics may be compared with each other.
As in all nutrition research, a clear hypothesis-led primary outcome and adequate statistical power are relevant to ensuring a reliable effect size estimate and interpretation of results. Studies should be well controlled, particularly with regard to the target population to reduce interindividual variability in, for example, gastrointestinal transit, which, in many cases, directly influences the physiologic effects of DF This includes population characteristics such as body weight, age, sex, or habitual diet, which all can influence gastrointestinal transit 63— The latter may also be of particular importance for experiments that study the beneficial effect of a DF via modulating the gut microbiota because individuals with differing habitual diets are likely to have distinct baseline gut microbiota compositions 56 , 66 and, as a result, responsiveness of a DF to exert a physiologic effect via the gut microbiota may differ significantly.
Other population characteristics in that respect include age 67 , sex 68 , and antibiotic use and disease 69 and should therefore be considered or controlled for. DF by its definition is a heterogeneous concept that incorporates a number of variables in terms of possible compositions and functionalities, as depicted in Figure 1. For meaningful scientific research that allows for valid replication and comparison of studies, as well as setting DF criteria for beneficial physiologic effects and related health claims, DF ingredients and foods used in nutrition research should be fully characterized and adequately reported.
At the very minimum, we believe that a clearly stated hypothesis linking putative benefits to established DF properties and unambiguous specification of the DF materials i. The development of better raw materials, ingredients, and foods will only be possible with effective collaboration between nutrition and food sciences. Improved characterization of the DF and food structures used in dietary interventions is clearly needed to further advance and maximize the value of nutrition research.
The expert group carried out the work i.
The research reported is the result of a scientific evaluation in line with ILSI Europe's framework to provide a precompetitive setting for public-private partnership. ILSI Europe facilitated scientific meetings and coordinated the overall project management and administrative tasks relating to the completion of this work. The opinions expressed herein and the conclusions of this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of ILSI Europe or those of its member companies.
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At the time of this work, RES and DJM were employees of companies manufacturing fiber-containing foods or beverages or fibers as ingredients. In addition, KSP is a board member of the company Leipurin, which sells ingredients to the baking industry. Experts are not paid for the time spent on this work; however, the nonindustry members within the expert group were offered support for travel and accommodation costs from the Eating Behavior and Energy Balance Task Force to attend meetings to discuss the manuscript and a small compensatory sum honorarium with the option to decline.
Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Recommendations for characterization and reporting of dietary fibers in nutrition research Kaisa S Poutanen. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Susana Fiszman. Cyril F M Marsaux. International Life Sciences Institute Europe a.
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David J Mela. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. ABSTRACT Dietary fiber DF comprises a wide range of naturally occurring and modified materials with substantial variations in physical and chemical properties and potential physiologic effects. Open in new tab Download slide. Table 1. Each study should pose a clear hypothesis relating the DF properties and putative physiologic functionality and characterize DF accordingly. How large an effect of DF properties e.
DF source, quantity, and composition in test materials must be specified sufficiently to allow for independent sourcing and replication of the research. When the hypothesized mechanisms of action of DF are related to development of viscosity or to gel formation, these properties should be measured in the matrix of use and conditions relevant to the hypothesis.
What conditions temperature, pH, shear, enzymes are encountered up to and at that point? What is the nature of the ingested material and conditions there? When gut-mediated mechanisms are considered, DF fermentation rate and extent should be measured in vitro. Open in new tab.
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