Benefits of dietary fiber in clinical nutrition

Abby Klosterbuer, Zamzam Fariba Roughead, Joanne Slavin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Dietary fiber is widely recognized as an important part of a healthy diet and is a common addition to enteral nutrition (EN) formulas. Fiber sources differ in characteristics such as solubility, fermentability, and viscosity, and it is now well known that different types of fiber exert varying physiological effects in the body. Clinical studies suggest fiber can exert a wide range of benefits in areas such as bowel function, gut health, immunity, blood glucose control, and serum lipid levels. Although early clinical nutrition products contained fiber from a single source, it is now thought that blends of fiber from multiple sources more closely resemble a regular diet and may provide a greater range of benefits for the patient. Current recommendations support the use of dietary fiber in clinical nutrition when no contraindications exist, but little information exists about which types and combinations of fibers provide the relevant benefit in certain patient populations. This article summarizes the different types of fiber commonly added to EN products and reviews the current literature on the use of fiber blends in clinical nutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-635
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dietary fiber
  • enteral nutrition
  • fatty acids
  • prebiotics
  • volatile


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