When you consume dietary fibers, it is not your body that breaks them down—it’s the bacteria in your large intestine! Important molecules produced by this bacterial activity are called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which comprise a maximum of six carbon atoms along with atoms of oxygen and hydrogen. Your body absorbs around 95% of these SCFAs and puts them to work. Could fiber’s beneficial effects – including weight control, blood sugar balance, and a decreased risk of certain diseases – be attributed to the activities of SCFAs? Research is revealing more about how these molecules benefit your health as they travel around the body.
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O’Keefe SJD, et al. (2015) Fat, fibre and cancer risk in African Americans and rural Africans. Nature Communications 6:6342 doi: 10.1038/ncomms7342 den besten G, et al. (See above)
Soret R, et al. (2010) Short-chain fatty acids regulate the enteric neurons and control gastrointestinal motility in rats. Gastroenterology. 138(5): 1772-1782.