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Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Dec;72(6):1503-9.

Studies on the effects of polydextrose intake on physiologic functions in Chinese people.

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Departments of Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Clinical Bacteriology, and Emergency Medicine, Rui Jin Hospital, Shanghai, China.



Previous studies showed that polydextrose has physiologic effects similar to those of dietary fiber.


Ingestion of 4, 8, and 12 g polydextrose/d was studied to determine the physiologic effects in Chinese subjects.


In a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind study, we evaluated the effects of polydextrose ingestion on clinical biochemistry indexes, glycated hemoglobin, glucose tolerance, the glycemic index, bowel function, stool weight and pH, short-chain fatty acid production, fecal microflora, and cecal mucosa cell proliferation.


Polydextrose had no significant effect on blood biochemistry indexes. Ingestion of 12 g polydextrose plus 50 g glucose resulted in a glycemic index of 89% (compared with a glycemic index of 100% after ingestion of 50 g glucose). Bowel function (frequency and ease of defecation) improved significantly and there were no reports of abdominal distention, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or hypoglycemia. Fecal weight (wet and dry) increased and fecal pH decreased proportionally to polydextrose intake. Short-chain fatty acid production-notably that of butyrate, isobutyrate, and acetate-increased with polydextrose ingestion. There were substantial changes in fecal anaerobes after polydextrose intake. BACTEROIDES: species (B. fragilis, B. vulgatus, and B. intermedius) decreased, whereas LACTOBACILLUS: and BIFIDOBACTERIUM: species increased. The cecal mucosa whole-crypt labeling index increased, with colonocyte proliferation mainly occurring in base compartments, which provided an indirect confirmation of butyrate production in the colon.


Polydextrose ingestion had significant dietary fiber-like effects with no laxative problems.

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