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Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Feb;62(1):187-92.

Importance of processing for physico-chemical and physiological properties of dietary fibre.

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Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


There is considerable loss of DM during wet heat treatment of vegetables, leading to an increase in dietary fibre. Correction for the loss of DM indicates that the effects on total dietary fibre are minor. There is, however, depolymerization of the dietary fibre polysaccharides. The degradation is related to the severity of the heat treatment. Souring, freezing and mild microwave treatment have no effects. The viscosity is in general related to the extent of polymerisation. Microwave treatment has different effects on various cultivars of green beans, and the addition of salt (NaCl and CaCl2) to the boiling water changes the physico-chemical properties of soluble fibre in carrots, depending on the cation. The higher viscosity of the soluble fibre in raw carrots may partly explain the lower glucose and hormonal responses observed in healthy subjects when compared with blanched and microwave-cooked carrots. In studies on rats the amount of butyric acid in the distal colon has been shown to be higher with dietary components containing high amounts of resistant starch. Further, the fermentability is lower and the butyric acid concentration higher with composite foods than with the corresponding purified fibre fractions. In human studies the faecal concentration of butyric acid has been shown to increase in patients with ulcerative colitis when [beta-glucan-enriched oat bran (20 g fibre) is added to the diet for 12 weeks. Also, an improvement of symptoms was reported.

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