Fiber: What’s in a Name?
Did you know that the word fiber on a nutrition label, has several possible meanings? Fiber can be classified as insoluble or soluble. Studies show that insoluble fiber may decrease the risk of heart disease and that soluble fiber may lower cholesterol. These results are from studies of intact fiber. Intact fiber occurs naturally in foods like vegetables, nuts, fruits, and grains. However, food manufacturers have started adding isolated fiber (such as inulin, maltodextrin, and polydextrose) to products that do not have natural fiber, such as plain yogurt and water. The health benefits of isolated fiber have not been verified, and because the Nutrition Facts label is not required to list the kind of fiber, the consumer is not aware if the kind of fiber is intact or isolated. In addition, products such as Kellogg’s All-Bran Drink Mix, are marketed to imply that they contain intact fiber, when they actually contain isolated fiber. When seeking a higher-fiber diet, choose foods that are naturally high in fiber: fruit, nuts, vegetables, and grains. For more information you may refer to the recent Q&A about fiber that was posted recently to our website. Daily Herald, Sept. 3, 2008