Dietary fibres

Dietary fibres are carbohydrates that are not digestible by humans. Dietary fibres are divided into fermentable, semi-fermentable and non-fermentable fibres. Fermentable fibres are broken down (partially) in the large intestine by bacteria into short chain fatty acids that provide the body with energy. Non-fermentable fibres leave the intestines undigested and do not provide energy. Dietary fibres provide 2 kcal per gram on average.

Fibre is important for healthy digestion. Eating enough fibre also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and intestinal cancer. Important sources of fibre are whole-grain bread, fruits and vegetables.

Chicory root fibre (inulin) is a dietary fibre that is naturally present in the chicory root and provides 2 kcal per gram. Inulin is a prebiotic, which means that it promotes the growth of certain types of bacteria that provide health benefits.

In summary

  • Dietary fibres are found primarily in whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Fibre can also be added to products that do not naturally contain this, such as dairy products.
  • The Dutch eat an average of 20 grams of dietary fibres per day. The most important sources of fibre are bread, grains, rice and pasta.
  • Due to the overall health benefits of dietary fibres, the Health Council of the Netherlands recommends that adults consume 14 grams of fibre per 1000 kcal. With an average energy intake, this translates into a recommended intake of 30 to 40 grams of fibre a per day. Around 10% of adults meet this guideline.
  • In virtually all Western countries, the intake of dietary fibres is much lower than the recommended amount.
  • It is important to eat enough fibre to keep intestines healthy and promote good bowel movements. Dietary fibres also create a feeling of fullness.
  • The packaging of a product may carry the claim that it is a ‘source of fibre’. This dietary claim means that the product contains at least 3 grams / 100 grams or 1.5 grams / 100 kcal. The claim ‘high-fibre’ means that the product contains 6 grams / 100 grams or 3 grams / 100 kcal.
  • Consumption of carbohydrates in the Netherlands

    Consumption of carbohydrates in the Netherlands

    Results from the sixth Dutch Food Consumption Survey 2019-2021.
    Bestandstype: pdf