Lifestyle Preventative Health and Medications > Dietary Fibre
What is dietary fibre?
Dietary fibre is commonly found in plants. Fibre is not broken down by the digestive tract and it passes through undigested. The main sources of dietary fibre are fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Dietary fibre is an important component of a healthy, well-balanced diet.
What is the daily dietary requirement for fibre?
The daily recommended dietary intake (RDI) for fibre is 25g/day for women and 30g/day for men.
What are the different types of dietary fibre and where can I find them?
Dietary fibre can be classified as soluble and insoluble fibre, which can be fermentable or non-fermentable.
Why is it important to have adequate dietary fibre in the diet?
Research has proven the many health benefits of dietary fibre.
Is a high fibre diet for everyone? Are there certain medical conditions in which a high fibre diet should be avoided?
The general healthy population should aim to meet the daily RDI for fibre to reap its health benefits. However, there are certain patient populations who will require a low fibre or low residue diet.
A low residue diet is often prescribed a day before bowel preparation protocols such as colonoscopies, colonography or gynaecological surgery. The intent is to cleanse and empty the colon of its contents to improve visibility and the handling of the colon during endoscopy or surgery.
In patients with gastric intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, pre/post abdominal surgery and gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders, a low fibre diet may help to reduce discomfort from symptoms by minimizing the frequency and volume of stools. When symptoms are resolved, patients may gradually increase fibre intake to meet the RDI
Lastly, a low fibre diet may also be beneficial in individuals with conditions an increased risk of bowel obstruction, by decreasing the risk of intestinal blockage by reducing faecal bulk. Consult a dietitian to determine if you require a low fibre diet as it may be restrictive.
Is there a difference between a low fibre diet and a low residue diet?
A low fibre diet is defined as 10-15g of fibre a day. There is currently no clear definition of a low residue diet as it is impossible to estimate the amount of residue (i.e. indigestible material) derived from digestion, but it should not exceed 10g of fibre a day.
How will I know if a packaged product that I buy contains fibre?
To determine if a food product contains fibre, look at its Nutrition Information Panel. If a product contains fibre, there will be a figure listed under “Dietary fibre” or “Fibre”, occasionally found under “Carbohydrates”.
For fibre supplements, keywords to look out for in the ingredients list on the food label are wheat bran, cellulose, lignin, wheat dextrin, inulin, guar gum, acacia gum, beta-glucan, psyllium, or pectin.
A platform that has been set up by the late Professor Seah CS, The National Foundation of Digestive Diseases (NFDD) serves to acquire and disseminate knowledge to the public on the topics of the functions of the digestive system (the gastrointestinal tract, the liver and the pancreas) and the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases of the digestive system.
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Qui autem de summo bono dissentit de tota philosophiae ratione dissentit. Ut nemo dubitet, eorum omnia officia quo spectare, quid sequi, quid fugere debeant? At, si voluptas esset bonum, desideraret. Videmus igitur ut conquiescere ne infantes quidem possint. Eorum enim est haec querela, qui sibi cari sunt seseque diligunt. Rhetorice igitur, inquam, nos mavis quam dialectice disputare?