Dietary Fiber

Although it is not a nutrient, dietary fiber is being increasingly recognized as important in the prevention or alleviation of disease. Fiber can also yield some dietary energy from short-chain fatty acids produced by fermentation in the large intestine. Fiber is concentrated in the outer bran layers of cereals, and thus levels are higher in bran and whole-grain products than in refined milling products (Tables 3-5). Dietary fiber includes cellulose and other insoluble and soluble non-starch polysac-charides. Resistant starch, lignin, and other minor components are included in some definitions. A significant amount of soluble fiber (3-5%) occurs as 0-glucan gum in oats and barley. A minimum of 5.5% 0-glucan is found in oat bran. This gum is the major factor responsible for the reductions in serum cholesterol that result from diets high in these cereals. Wheat bran, which improves gut function, is high in total fiber (40%) but contains only 3-4% soluble fiber.

Table 9 Fatty-acid composition of cereals; representative values in grams per 100 g total fatty acids (total includes 2-3% of trace fatty acids)

Palmitic acid (16:0)

Stearic acid (18:0)

Oleic acid (18:1)

Linoleic acid (18:2)

Linolenic acid (18:3)

Rice

22

2

34

38

2

Maize

12

2

32

50

2

Wheat

18

2

18

56

3

Barley

22

1

13

56

5

Sorghum

13

2

34

46

2

Pearl millet

20

4

26

44

3

Foxtail millet

10

3

17

64

3

Proso millet

9

2

21

64

2

Finger millet

24

2

46

24

1

Kodo millet

18

2

36

40

2

Oats

19

2

36

38

2

Rye

15

1

17

58

7

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