Defining Fiber: A Difficult Task?

The American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) is claiming that new definitions for dietary fiber compiled by the Food Nutrition Board (FNB) are completely inadequate. The definitions proposed by FNB separate fiber into two categories: dietary fiber and functional fiber. According to AACC, the FNB definitions not only present analytical and scientific concerns, but they are also confusing to the consumer and could have a negative impact on nutritional research and education. The definition should define the constitution and makeup of macro-component food based on its physiological or physical-chemical properties, not its state of being.

The AACC proposes the definition to be “dietary fiber” is the edible part of plants or analogous carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine; dietary fiber includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignin, and associated plant substances; dietary fiber promote beneficial physiological effects including laxation, and/or blood cholesterol attenuation, and/or blood glucose attenuation.