Before the industrial revolution the main function of food was to serve as man’s primary source of energy. It was at this time that the term “dietary fibre” was coined, to denote the indigestible plant material that does not contribute to the supply of nutrients and is therefore regarded as superfluous.
As eating habits change to favour foods that contain little or no dietary fibre and as people get less and less exercise, dietary fibres are more important than ever. Nowadays, these plant components, which would have been scorned in the past, would probably be referred to as “slimming agents” or “active agents”, as both epidemiological and scientific studies have confirmed that dietary fibres contribute significantly to our health.
Today it is known that dietary fibre is required to maintain a functioning digestive system, it can help to control cholesterol and glucose in the blood and help to control body weight. Hence, if taken regularly in line with the recommendations of doctors and dieticians, dietary fibres can reduce the risk factors for diseases such as colon cancer or coronary heart disease. The importance of dietary fibres is underlined by the fact that they are included in the nutritional labelling of food.
Dietary Fibre for a Healthy Diet