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Wednesday, 28 February 2007 23:52

Want more fiber in your diet: Drink coffee!

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Spanish researchers report surprising new information that coffee supplies a significant amount of a person’s daily fiber.

Scientists earlier believed that when producing coffee, no fiber was transferred from coffee beans to the finished coffee product. In fact, tables of food composition regularly list coffee as containing 'no fiber'.

However, this information has been proved incorrect according to new research. Coffee and other liquids were recently tested by food scientists Fulgencio Saura-Calixto and M. Elena Diaz-Rubio, from the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at the Spanish National Research Council of Madrid, Spain. Through a new technique to separate fiber from liquids, they were able to discover that fiber does, indeed, pass from coffee beans to coffee during the production process.

Saura-Calixto and Diaz-Rubio report these findings in their March 21, 2007 article "Dietary Fiber in Brewed Coffee” within the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. They state that two cups (about 16 fluid ounces) of coffee produced from freeze-dried coffee crystals (instant coffee) supply up to 3.6 grams (about 0.13 ounce) of fiber.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, 2005), the U.S. daily recommended amount of dietary fiber for the average adult (based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet) is about 31 grams (about 1.1 ounce).

Two cups of conventionally made coffee, which are made through coffee filters, contain about 2.2 grams (about 0.08 ounces) of fiber.

The Spanish researchers found that freeze-dried coffee is made through a process whose temperature reaches 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit), much higher than the process used to produce regular coffee. The higher temperature used in the making of instant coffee is believed to allow more fiber to be removed from the coffee beans.

Already known to be a good source of antioxidants, coffee appears to be an excellent source of soluble dietary fiber (SDF), too. Scientific research has also indicated that coffee improves cognitive (reasoning and acquisition of knowledge) performance and reduces the risk to certain diseases, especially with regards to diabetes.

Coffee is a leading commodity traded around the world in over sixty countries. The average daily consumption of coffee worldwide is 1.5 cups. The average amount of coffee consumed daily in the United States is over 3.5 cups.

Other good food sources for dietary fiber are beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

A history of coffee is found on the National Geographic Society Web page: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/coffee/.

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