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I have read that dietary fiber is beneficial to human health in many ways, for example that it can help to reduce risk of colorectal cancer. However, when I look at nutrition labels on food it seems that only plant based food contains fiber; animal based food (meat) contains none.

What exactly is meant by fiber? I looked it up and found that there are actually a variety of definitions. The CODEX Alimentarius Commission has recently come up with an updated definition described in a paper by Jones. The definition states that “dietary fiber means carbohydrate (CHO) polymers with ten or more monomeric units, which are not hydrolyzed by the endogenous enzymes in the small intestine (SI) of humans”. Further more their definition "includes resistant oligosaccharides, resistant starch and resistant maltodextrins" when a footnote of the definition is included.

Jones points out that some definitions of dietary fiber do not explicitly rule out dietary fiber from animal sources. So does meat or animal based food contain any carbohydrate (CHO) polymers that are not hydrolyzed by the endogenous enzymes of the small intestine in humans?

An earlier version of this question was posted in my blog.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! We encourage you to do some research on your own and then, informed by what you have learned, ask any questions you still have (ideally with references to reliable sources). In particular, your question is based on an assumption — I suggest you find references that support that assumption, which will almost certainly lead you to an answer for this question. ——— Please also take the tour and then go through the help pages starting with How to Ask questions effectively on this site and edit your question accordingly. Thanks! 😊 $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 7 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely prior research needed. For instance, why would digestibility by humans matter to microbes? It would mean they would just have to get to (some of) the human-digestable stuff before the human uses it. Also, I think the idea of dietary fiber is that it is not digested by either humans or gut microbes, and thus adds bulk to the stool, $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 7 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @jamesqf for your feedback. I overhauled the question and provided a reference for my assumption. I focused only on the definition of dietary fiber, and left off the discussion about gut bacteria since that was just confusing things. $\endgroup$ – David Ruffner Mar 24 at 15:34

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