Fibre, A Forgotten Key to a Thriving Diet


  • Sarah Kate Walsh 0000-0002-6783-8110



Fibre, Diet, Food reformulation, Nutrition, Food policy, Food science and technology


Fibre is an often-overlooked nutrient in the debate of what constitutes a healthy diet for optimal health and the prevention of chronic disease. This article aims to introduce fibre as an important dietary component to a general audience. It discusses current and recommended dietary fibre intakes and addresses the often termed “fibre gap” observed in Western-style diets. We highlight sources of dietary fibre focusing on both whole foods and isolated and synthetic fibre ingredients that are entering the food supply. The potential benefits and consumer acceptability of reformulated food staples containing isolated fibre ingredients are discussed including their unique sensory characteristics. By reflecting on the diets of our ancestors and current non-industrialised societies our article highlights the significant changes in our diet that may have altered the gut microbiomes of Western consumers with subsequent deleterious health outcomes. Discussing the current work of the Microbe Restore project, we illustrate how our research design aims to address important questions. Can a typical Western/Modern Irish diet be reformulated to achieve ancestral fibre levels without affecting the acceptability of staple foods? What are the subsequent health outcomes of such a high-fibre diet on the modern overweight/obese consumer? Finally, we highlight how the outcomes of the Microbe Restore project may aid in shaping future food design, dietary recommendations, and the potential impact of food reformulation with isolated fibres on societal health by increasing population dietary fibre intakes.