What is ‘Added Fiber,’ and Is it Healthy?

You know that a fiber-rich diet can help us stay healthy and evenmaintain a healthy weight, but not all fiber is created equal. What exactly is “added fiber” in food, and is it as healthy as naturally-occurring fiber? The FDA is considering this question right now.

When you arechoosing a box of crackers or loaf of bread at the store, do you consider how much fiber is in a serving? You’re not alone, and food companies know it. In an interview with NPR, Bonnie Liebmanfrom Center for Science in the Public Interest said, “The food industry has hijacked the advice to eat more fiber by putting isolated, highly processed fiber into what are essentially junk foods.”

What exactly is "added fiber" in food, and is it as healthy as naturally-occurring fiber? The FDA is considering this question right now.

What is added fiber?

Added fiber kind of is what it says it is: fiber that’s added to food during processing. Food producers use all kinds of ingredientsto add fiber to their foods, and the FDA is looking at 26 of these ingredients to decide whether they count as dietary fiber.

The added fiber ingredients that the FDA is looking at are:

  1. Gum Acacia
  2. Alginate
  3. Apple Fiber
  4. Bamboo Fiber
  5. Carboxymethylcellulose
  6. Corn Hull Fiber
  7. Cottonseed Fiber
  8. Galactooligosaccharides
  9. Inulin/Oligofructose/Synthetic Short Chain Fructooligosaccharides
  10. Karaya Gum
  11. Oat Hull Fiber
  12. Pea Fiber
  13. Polydextrose
  14. Potato Fibers
  15. Pullulan
  16. Rice Bran Fiber
  17. High Amylose Corn/Maize Starch (Resistant Starch 2)
  18. Retrograded Corn Starch (Resistant Starch 3)
  19. Resistant Wheat and Maize Starch (Resistant Starch 4)
  20. Soluble Corn Fiber
  21. Soy Fiber
  22. Sugar Beet Fiber
  23. Sugar Cane Fiber
  24. Wheat Fiber
  25. Xanthan Gum
  26. Xylooligosaccharides

That is quite a list! FDA is requesting data on these ingredients andputting out a scientific literature reviewto determine which of the added fiber ingredients listed above “provides a beneficial physiological effect to human health.”This new definition of dietary fiber is likely going to change how much fiber companies can list on Nutrition Facts labels.

Once the review is complete, only ingredients that meet that requirement will be able to count toward dietary fiber on a product’sNutrition Facts label.

How much fiber should we eat?

Fiberrecommendations vary by age. According to the American Heart Association and the UCSF Medical Center:

  • Adults 18+ need 25-30 grams of fiber per day.
  • Children ages1-3 years need 19 grams per day.
  • Children ages 4-8 years need 25 grams per day.
  • Children ages 9-13 need 26-31 grams per day.
  • Children ages 14-18 years need 26-38 grams per day.

They also recommend that your daily fiber intake should come from food, not supplements.

What exactly is "added fiber" in food, and is it as healthy as naturally-occurring fiber? The FDA is considering this question right now.

How to Get Enough Dietary Fiber

Most Americans fall far short of the daily recommendations. The average American eats only 15 grams of fiber per day! Since the jury is still out on whether many added fiber ingredients count as dietary fiber, your best bet is tomeet your fiber needs by eating more plants.

Only plant foods naturally contain dietary fiber, so a plant-based diet rich in whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are your best bet for meeting the recommended amount of dietary fiber. If you need some help squeezing more fiber-rich plants into your day, check out these helpful guides:

Related at Care2

What exactly is "added fiber" in food, and is it as healthy as naturally-occurring fiber? The FDA is considering this question right now.

Images via Thinkstock.

52 comments

Laim P
Laim P6 days ago

I conclude I haven't understood such particular incomparable contents anywhere added online.
Allcbdoilbenefits

SEND
Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers19 days ago

Thanks.

SEND
John W
John W23 days ago

Thanks for sharing this :-)

SEND
Marija M
Marija M24 days ago

tks for posting.

SEND
Teresa W
Teresa W24 days ago

thanks

SEND
Peggy B
Peggy B25 days ago

Good to know.

SEND
Wiktoria R
Wiktoria R25 days ago

Thank you

SEND
Ruth S
Ruth S25 days ago

Thanks.

SEND
Thomas S
Thomas S25 days ago

thanks

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer25 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND