Highly Refined Fiber in Processed Foods Might Negatively Affect Human Health

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Addition of highly refined fiber in processed foods could have negative effects on human health, according to a study published on October 19, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at the Georgia State University and the University of Toledo. The evidences gathered by the researchers indicate that consumption of whole foods naturally rich in fiber has many health benefits. Also, many health-conscious consumers say that their diets lack such fibers. These reasons have led to the addition of highly refined soluble fibers such as inulin in foods. However, safety associated with the addition of highly refined fiber in processed foods is a major concern.

Researchers conducted a test on mice to see the negative effects it could have on the mice by consuming diet enriched with refined inulin. Although inulin-containing diet helped to stave off obesity, some of the mice started to develop jaundice. After six months, many of these mice developed liver cancer.

Mice that was identified with liver cancer had preexisting dysbiosis, which is an altered intestinal microbiota composition. This played a central role in the promotion of liver cancer. The results obtained in this study indicates the need for further studies focusing on the effects of purified diet consumption in humans, and especially on liver health.

Dr. Benoit Chassaing, assistant professor in the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State, said, “We importantly demonstrated that soluble fiber, while it generally beneficially impacts health, can also become detrimental, leading to diseases as severe as liver cancer. However, we do not want to promote that fiber is bad. Rather, our research highlights that fortifying processed foods with fiber may not be safe to certain individuals with gut bacterial dysbiosis, in whom consumption of purified fiber may lead to liver cancer.”

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