Typically, most Americans consume 17 g of fiber per day, and they are reluctant to increase their fiber intake in spite of the positive health benefits because of the known bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort associated with increased fiber ingestion.
The extent of discomfort has been determined to depend on the type of fiber, suggesting the need to strike a balance between digestibility and fiber functionality.
Functionality is dependent on the bulk of a fiber. In turn, fibers with low digestibility possess better functionality. In contrast, broken down fiber supplements are not functional and produce sugars that are fermented by the intestinal flora to cause acid production, gas and bloating.
Sabinsa Corporation supplies Fenufibers®, a fiber product obtained from fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) that contains a minimum of 50% fiber.
A study1 performed at the University of Georgia evaluated the ability of the human colonic bacterium Bacteroides ovatus V975 to ferment Fenufibers® (fenugreek fiber), Metamucil® (psyllium husk), and Wheat Chex (wheat bran). As shown in Figure 1, there was little change in in vitro dry matter disapperance (IVDMD), a measure of fiber digestibility, after 24 or 48 hours for Fenufibers®, Metamucil®, and Wheat Chex.
The lack of extensive fermentation by B. ovatus V975 indicates that Fenufibers® is a minimally digested fiber-rich supplement that can be incorporated into soups and other food preparations, providing the beneficial effects of fiber.
- Al-Khaldi, S.F., Martin, S.A., and Prakash, L. (1999) Fermentation of fenugreek fiber, psyllium husk, and wheat bran by Bacteroides ovatus V975. Current Microbiology, 39, 231-232.