Dietary Fibre Essay

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Dietary fibre is the name given to any ‘mixture of plant food components that are indigestible in the small intestine’ (Dreher 2001) or as put by van der Kamp et al in a more in depth explanation, 'Dietary fibre is the edible parts 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’. This indigestible matter essentially scrapes and cleans the inside of our digestive track as it moves through our body, collecting any waste or other indigestible materials along the way. This is an important function of fibre but it has many other properties such as helping the absorption of nutrients, lowering cholesterol and prevention for colon cancer. While these properties are well known most people have a relatively low daily intake of dietary fibre and it is considered important for our future health that these levels increase significantly. It is generally accepted that 25-30 grams of fibre is the recommend amount for daily adult consumption, with children needing not that much less. The average adult consumption is estimated at 15 grams of fibre daily (Sitzman 2005). This is just half the optimum amount and from a health perspective is not considered sufficient. For children, the deficiency on average is ever so slightly worse, with the average child only consuming less than 14 grams a day (Yates, Corrigan 2012). Children’s intake of dietary fibre should be increased from any age so as to start good habits for life. Improving their digestive health from a young age has been shown to reduce the risks of many future potential health problems, which will be discussed later in this essay. Adults should also be increasing their fibre intake and maintaining optimum levels for continued health benefits and prevention of diseases as they age. They need to also set

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