The final rule incorporates two major changes to the dietary fiber declaration—a definition of “dietary fiber,” a term that FDA had not previously defined, and an increase in the DRV from 25 grams to 28 grams.
Dietary Fiber is a mandatory label nutrient and is a non-digestible carbohydrate, and for US labeling, it is considered part of the carbohydrate total. Dietary Fiber includes both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can also be reported on the label. Previous labeling regulations did not establish a definition for Dietary Fiber, but the new labeling regulations have adopted the definition proposed by the Institute of Medicine.
The new definition focuses on reporting fiber that is considered beneficial to human health. Dietary Fiber in the new regulations includes non-digestible carbohydrates and lignin that are found naturally in plants, plus added fiber that has a beneficial effect in humans. Fibers that meet this definition are included in the Dietary Fiber and Total Carbohydrate totals on the label.
Below are 7 of the 25 isolated or synthetic fibers that are included in the new definition of Dietary Fiber:
- beta-glucan soluble fiber (soluble)
- psyllium husk (mostly soluble)
- cellulose (insoluble)
- guar gum (soluble)
- pectin (soluble)
- locust bean gum (soluble)
- hydroxypropylmethcellulose (soluble)
Other fibers (such as inulin) can be added to a product, however, they may not* be included in the Dietary Fiber total. Additionally, other fibers are included in the Total Carbohydrate total.
*The F.D.A. plans to publish a separate notice that will seek comment on the available scientific data on non-digestible carbohydrates. Publicly available clinical trial data will be identified and summarized for non-digestible carbohydrates, including inulin, bamboo fiber, soy fiber, pea fiber, wheat fiber, cotton seed fiber, sugar cane fiber, sugar beet fiber and oat fiber.
Example: Oatmeal Fiber Bar
I want to create a high fiber oatmeal bar so I add 5g of cellulose (insoluble) and 5g of inulin (soluble) to my recipe. The oats account for 5g of fiber.
Based on the previous Dietary Fiber definition my bar would have 15g of Total Dietary Fiber.
Based on the new Dietary Fiber definition my bar would have 10g of Total Dietary Fiber. The 5g of fiber that comes from inulin are not calculated in the Total Dietary Fiber, but they ARE calculated in the Total Carbohydrates.
Nutrient Maintenance Records
The new labeling regulations require maintenance records to support the amounts of Dietary Fiber (as well as Added Sugars, Vitamin E, and Folate/Folic Acid) added to the label because there are not analytical methods that can distinguish the required nutrient definition. As a result, the FDA allows for use of electronic databases for analysis. The final rule requires that the records be kept for at least 2 years after the food is introduced to the market.
The final rules have implemented a number of significant changes to the Nutrition Facts labels. ESHA will be hosting a three-part series focusing on the different aspects of the label changes (including Dietary Fiber) and how we have incorporated these changes in Genesis R&D.