For years, fiber intake among the global population has been extremely low, setting the stage for potentially serious, long-term public health implications.(1) New research commissioned by Tate & Lyle and presented at the 2012 Experimental Biology conference in San Diego adds to the body of emerging research on fibers, including additional support for the role of soluble corn fiber in bone health.
"Years of research point to the health benefits of fiber for cardiovascular health, blood glucose control, digestion and gut health, yet average intake is approximately half the recommended amount," said Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, of the University of Minnesota and a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. "With more than 90 percent of adults and children falling short of meeting their daily fiber recommendations, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans classified fiber as a nutrient of concern, since it's one of the critical nutrients most lacking in people's diets."
The three studies on PROMITOR™ Soluble Corn Fiber and STA-LITE® Polydextrose were supported by Tate & Lyle, the global provider of specialty food ingredients. These fibers have been shown to have positive health benefits similar to and beyond those demonstrated for naturally-occurring intact fibers.
"The area of fiber research is expanding with new discoveries for the role of fiber, such as helping boost calcium absorption in adolescents, an age group in which calcium intake is vitally important for a lifetime of bone health," said Connie Weaver, PhD, of Purdue University and a lead researcher in the fiber and calcium study. "Since people aren't meeting their fiber goals with the foods they currently eat, adding fibers to foods is a realistic and simple way to address this global public health concern."
The following are summaries of the three fiber studies:
- Soluble Corn Fiber Increases Calcium Absorption
Calcium, the vital mineral for building and maintaining strong bones, is another "nutrient of concern" and is particularly lacking in adolescent children. Adolescence is a critical time when bones are still growing and the rate at which the body stores calcium reaches its peak. In a new study of soluble corn fiber, researchers from Purdue University evaluated the effect of soluble corn fiber on dietary calcium absorption and retention in adolescents. In a double-blind, randomized-controlled, cross-over study, female and male subjects consumed a daily diet including 600mg of calcium with either 0g or 12g of soluble corn fiber. Researchers found that when the subjects consumed soluble corn fiber, calcium absorption increased by 12 percent compared to the control, but there was no overall effect on calcium balance.
- Soluble Corn Fiber and Polydextrose Demonstrate Gut Health Benefits
In order to be classified as a fiber, the nutrient must demonstrate a physiological effect, such as bulking. Another physiological effect is fermentation, which promotes gut health by, for example, producing food for the "good" bacteria in the intestines. A randomized control trial of 36 adults looked at gut fermentation of two types of fiber: polydextrose and soluble corn fiber, and found that both fiber types increased fermentation in the gut and were well-tolerated by the subjects.
- Soluble Corn Fiber is Well-Tolerated At and Above Recommended Daily Intake Levels
Increasing fiber intake is often associated with abdominal discomfort caused by bloating, cramping and gas, which can be an obstacle to reaching daily recommendations for fiber. A randomized controlled crossover study of 20 healthy adults examined gut tolerance of soluble corn fiber at daily doses equivalent to and greater than daily recommendations. Current recommended daily intake is 25-38g/day; in this study multiple doses of soluble corn fiber were administered as a single bolus dose and spread out in multiple doses throughout the day. Up to a 40g single dose of soluble corn fiber and a 65g daily total were well-tolerated among subjects.