Recommendations for characterization and reporting of dietary fibers in nutrition research

Kaisa S. Poutanen, Susana Fiszman, Cyril F.M. Marsaux, Saara P. Pentikäinen, Robert E. Steinert, David J. Mela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Dietary fiber (DF) comprises a wide range of naturally occurring and modified materials with substantial variations in physical and chemical properties and potential physiologic effects. Although nutrition studies testing the effects of DF usually provide extensive detail on the physiologic responses, many still fail to adequately report the type and properties of the DF itself. This weakens the ability to directly replicate and compare studies and to establish structure-function relations. We outline the factors that affect DF functionality and provide 4 overarching recommendations for the characterization and reporting of DF preparations and DF-containing foods in nutrition research. These relate to 1) undertaking characterization methods that reflect the study hypothesis; 2) adequate reporting of DF source, quantity, and composition; 3) measurement of DF rheological properties; and 4) estimation of the DF fermentation rate and extent. Importantly, the food matrix of the test products should also be considered, because this can influence DF functionality and hence the apparent DF efficacy for health-relevant outcomes. Finally, we point out differences in DF functionality to be considered in acute and longer-term trials, the need to design the control treatment according to the research question, and the importance of reporting the amount and type of DF in the background diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-444
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
MoE publication typeNot Eligible


  • dietary fiber properties
  • fermentability
  • food matrix
  • gelling
  • molecular weight
  • viscosity

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