Fibre: SACN’s New Recommendations…

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In case you haven’t heard, the latest buzz on sugar is that the Government advisory group – The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) – has made an official recommendation that the UK public should consume no more than 5% of calories in the form of free sugars.

In all the media commotion on this topic, another really important message from SACN’s report seemed to get lost. Their message on fibre.

As well as a reduction in sugar, SACN’s report also recommends that in the UK we need to up our intake of dietary fibre.

Dietary fibre is defined as:

“All carbohydrates that are naturally integrated components of food that are neither digested nor absorbed in the small intestine and have a degree of polymerisations of three or more monomeric units, plus lignin.”

Simple, right? 😉

The new recommendations:

The updated Dietary Reference Value for dietary fibre for an adult population average is 30g/day.

N.B. The previous recommendations for dietary fibre were 18g/day. However, the new recommendation is defined using a different method of dietary fibre analysis called – the Association of Official Analytical Chemist’s (AOAC) method. If the old recommendations had used this same method of analysis, previous dietary recommendations would have been around 23-24g of dietary fibre/day.

Recommendations for other age groups:

SACN Recommendations on Fibre intake

How do we meet these recommendations?

The British Nutrition Foundation have suggested that, given current UK intakes, these new recommendations would require a 50% increase in fibre intake for men and a 75% increase for women, and even more for those on a low income who tend to have a lower intake of fibre.

However, the new fibre recommendations can be met by following a well-balanced diet and emphasising the importance of the 5-a-day message, as well as the need to select fibre-rich foods for both meals and snacks. Which basically means following current healthy eating guidelines.

In their report, SACN advises that the 30g could be achieved by consuming ALL of the following on a daily basis:

  • five portions of fruit and veg
  • two slices of wholemeal bread
  • a portion of high fibre breakfast cereal
  • a baked potato and
  • a portion of whole wheat pasta

For those of us that eat well already, this doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch, but it’s possibly a very different story for those wGood sources of fibreho aren’t used to following a well-balanced diet…

Have your say – is 30g/day feasible for the UK population?

4 responses to “Fibre: SACN’s New Recommendations…”

  1. claudiac says:

    30g will be very difficult, but a higher amount will increase the consumption to more than 18g for those who are aware of the benefits/health conscious/ those who want to improve health. Personally, there’s an eagerness to try to reach the daily recommendations as much as I can even if I don’t. Will be essential to get population data and their changes in fibre intake in the next few years to see if such changes in recommendations have any effect at all on overall population

    • Hi Claudiac, thanks for your comment. Yes, agree it will be a challenge and will be interesting to see if we start to see population changes in fibre intake following this advice and advice we’ve been recommending for years. However, the new recommendation of 30g isn’t that much different to what it was previously (around 6g more) it’s just using a different method of calculating. Thanks again for your comment. Charlotte

  2. Manmita Rai says:

    I agree that increasing the recommended dietary allowance on a per day basis would be beneficial to combat many disease associated with increased consumption of dietary fibre. However, it would be interesting to see the statistical difference between what the population had been consuming till now when we already have been educating them with guidelines such as five-a-day and so on and so forth and, what has been the consumption few years down the line. depends on the population as well on how they would consume so many newly laid recommendations.

  3. Phil Thompson says:

    I’m not eating high carbohydrate foods to chase a fibre goal. So only one of your five suggestions is any use to me as a pre-diabetic. Mushrooms, kale, avocado, olives etc will be my go to fibre source.

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