Fibre in Diet
What is Fibre?
The general term fibre,is applied to a variety of non-digestible carbohydrates and non-carbohydrate substance for which specific hydrolytic enzymes are lacking in the human digestive system. Hence, it can not be digested and thus passes straight down to colon absorbing water and food residues, speeding up the passage of food through the gut and providing bulk in stools.
Dietary Fibre includes stacchyose, cellulose, pectin, raffinose and also lignin. (Present in whole wheat, whole rye, strawberries, peaches, pears, plums and mature vegetables).
Is Dietary Fibre and Crude Fibre the Same?
Dietary Fibre refers to the total amount of naturally occurring material in foods, mostly plants, that is not digested. This includes plant dietary fabre from such foods as whole gram, legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts.
Crude Fibre is the material remaining after vigorous treatment of the food source with acids and alkaline agents in the laboratory. These strong laboratory processes remove a good portion of the total dietary fibre that cannot withstand such treatment.
Fibre nutrition has largely been neglected because plant fibre has been considered to have negligible nutritive value.Today , dietary fibre is known to play an important role in the daily diet because of its beneficial effects on the various non- infectious diseases like obesity, constipation, diverticulosis, diabetes mellitus and heart disease.
Foods Rich in Fibre
1. Wholegrain or unrefined cereals, oatmeal.
2. Peas, beans and lentils.
3. Dried fruit and nuts.
4. Vegetables eaten raw in large quantities in the form of salads.
5. Fruits with their skin.
Characteristics of diet rich in fibre
1. Less dense, more bulky, has a higher volume and weight.
2. Less energy dense, hence, higher caloric dilution, and lower Kcal/gm.
3. Low in fat.
4. High in vegetables and fruits.
5. Low in sugar and salt.
6. Requires more chewing.
It has been suggested that lack of fibre in the diet may be associated with coronary heart disease diabetes mellitus, cancer of the colon, diverticulosis (formation of pouches in the intestine which may get inflamed), hernia and other diseases of the gastro intestinal tract.