Dietary fiber—or, more properly, dietary fibers, collectively—constitute a topic of greater health interest than ever, from the perspective of new and ongoing medical research; as protective elements of the diet; and from a formulation perspective. The latter concerns those ingredients in today’s better-for-you food and beverage products that have the potential to benefit health and enhance the organoleptic properties of the food. For many manufacturers, fiber simply is a component that contributes bulk to food. For consumers, fiber is an ingredient they vaguely recognize that aids the end stage of digestion.
According to the USDA, via data from the “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2010,” the “mean dietary fiber intake of all individuals 2 years and older, excluding breastfed children” averages 16g per day, with intakes of males and females at 18g and 15g, respectively. African Americans have “significantly lower dietary fiber intake” at 13g, compared to Caucasians (16g) and Hispanics (17g). Yet the latest dietary guidelines set the average daily intake for fiber to 14g/1,000kcals, which translates to 25g/day for women and 38g/day for men.