FIGURE 6.3 Correlation of daily stool weight and daily dietary fiber (nonstarch polysaccharides) intake in healthy subjects (n = 206) eating controlled diets with different amounts of dietary fiber (Reproduced from Cummings, J. H., The Large Intestine in Nutrition and Disease, Danone Chair Monograph, Institut Danone, Brussels, Belgium, 1997 with the permission of the Institute Danone, Belgium; and adapted from Cummings, J. H., Bingham, S. A., Heaton, K. W., Eastwood, M. A., Fecal weight, colon cancer risk, and dietary intake of non-starch polysaccharides (dietary fibre), Gastroenterology, 103, 1783-1789, 1992.)

120 papers and detailing 150 separate studies (reporting quantitative data on changes in stool weight by comparing at least one control and one test period), Cummings 18,78,79 has calculated the average increase in stool output, expressed as a stool bulking index:

Bulking index =

g of increased stool (wet weight) production/g of dietary fiber component-fed

These values, which are significantly different (p < .001), are shown in Figure 6.4. The insoluble dietary fiber components that are not fermented or only poorly fermented (i.e., wheat bran, cellulose, and oat fiber) are the most effective stool bulking agents with +5.4, 3.5, and 3.4 g stool/g dietary fiber component-fed, respectively. Gums and mucilages are also very effective at +3.7 g stool/g dietary fiber

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