The session will be a workshop format facilitated by Dr Julie Miller-Jones and Dr Martine Champ.
This session will offer an open forum to discuss and elucidate the scientific and practical implications of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) Definition for dietary fiber. A definition for Dietary Fiber was adopted in June 2009 by the CAC based on the recommendation for endorsement of the CODEX Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) in November 2008. The definition listed three categories of carbohydrate polymers which are not hydrolyzed by the endogenous enzymes in the small intestine of humans:
1. Edible Carbohydrate polymers naturally occurring in the food as consumed,
2. Carbohydrate polymers, which have been obtained from food raw material by physical, enzymatic or chemical means and which have been shown to have a physiological effect of benefit to health as demonstrated by generally accepted scientific evidence to competent authorities, and
3. Synthetic carbohydrate polymers which have been shown to have a physiological effect of benefit to health as demonstrated by generally accepted scientific evidence to competent authorities.
During the development of the CAC definition, a list of physiological effects was included since 2004 as typical dietary fiber properties until the final version was adopted in 2009, when the physiological benefits to be demonstrated were left undefined. The previous versions included the following section:
Dietary fibre generally has properties such as:
Decrease intestinal transit time and increase stools bulk
Fermentable by colonic microflora
Reduce blood total and/or LDL cholesterol levels
Reduce post-prandial blood glucose and /or insulin levels."
The CAC definition delineates carbohydrate polymers of dp 3+ that are not digested and absorbed in the small intestine as dietary fiber. For fibers falling into categories 2 and 3, scientific evidence of at least one of the above physiological effects needs to be provided. Attendees at the Workshop will discuss whether dietary fibers including those in the range of DP3 to DP9 can be considered dietary fibers if they demonstrate one or more of the properties listed above.