List of Dietary Fibres Reviewed and Accepted by Health Canada’s Food Directorate

Updated May 2017

Bureau of Nutritional Sciences
Food Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide a positive list of dietary fibres which will help food manufacturers, health professionals, consumers and other interested parties in identifying and using brand name products and generic products assessed as fibre sources and found acceptable by Health Canada’s Food Directorate.

Regulatory requirements

There is no regulatory requirement for a Health Canada premarket assessment of novel fibre sources, contrary to the premarket notification required for novel foods governed by Division 28 of the Food and Drug Regulations. However, a novel fibre source must be safe for human consumption (Section 4 of the Food and Drugs Act) and must have one recognized fibre physiological effect (Section 5 of the Food and Drugs Act). Fibre declaration and claims are subject to regulatory oversight and manufacturers and importers must be able to disclose the evidence substantiating the safety and the physiological effect of their novel fibre sources in accordance with Health Canada's Policy for Labelling and Advertising of Dietary Fibre-Containing Food Products.

When a manufacturer or seller voluntarily submits for review a novel fibre information package, an assessment is conducted by the Food Directorate's Bureau of Nutritional Sciences and may result in the issuance of a letter of opinion about the acceptability of the food ingredient as a source of dietary fibre.

It must be noted that the list of accepted fibres in this document is not exclusive, that is, other acceptable fibre sources may be available in the Canadian marketplace. The onus is on the legal agent to comply with Sections 4 and 5 of the Food and Drugs Act.

Dietary fibre definition

The Policy for Labelling and Advertising of Dietary Fibre-Containing Food Products defines dietary fibre as follows:

"Dietary fibre consists of:

  1. carbohydrates with a degree of polymerization of 3 or more that naturally occur in foods of plant origin and that are not digested and absorbed by the small intestine; and
  2. accepted novel fibres.

Novel fibres are ingredients manufactured to be sources of dietary fibre and consist of carbohydrates with a degree of polymerization of 3 or more that are not digested and absorbed by the small intestine. They are synthetically produced or are obtained from natural sources which have no history of safe use as dietary fibre or which have been processed so as to modify the properties of the fibre contained therein. Accepted novel fibres have at least one physiological effect demonstrated by generally accepted scientific evidence."

The four recognized physiological effects of dietary fibres are:

  • improving laxation or regularity by increasing stool bulk;
  • reducing blood total and/or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels;
  • reducing post-prandial blood glucose and/or insulin levels, or increasing sensitivity to insulin;
  • providing energy-yielding metabolites through colonic fermentation.

Accepted dietary fibres

Table 1 provides the list of dietary fibres assessed and accepted by Health Canada's Food Directorate. Products identified as "traditional fibres" in the third column were not considered as novel fibres and their acceptance as sources of fibre was not based on their physiological functionality as dietary fibres. These products derived from plants have a history of use as components of foods, have been minimally processed and their fibre properties have not been modified. Products identified as "novel fibres" have at least one fibre physiological effect demonstrated as recommended by Health Canada's Fibre Policy.

Accepted dietary fibre sources are permitted to be used in all unstandardized foods with the exception of infant formula unless otherwise specified. Unstandardized foods are foods for which the Food and Drug Regulations or other federal regulations do not provide specific compositional standards. The addition of dietary fibres is not permitted in standardized foods unless a provision for their addition is made in the Food and Drug Regulations or other applicable regulations.

Table 1. List of dietary fibres reviewed and accepted by Health Canada's Food Directorate
Dietary fibre name Description Reason for acceptance
Acacia gum or gum arabic Dried exudate from stems and branches of Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal species, processed by water dissolution, purification, concentration and drying. Traditional fibre
Barley beta-glucan concentrate Chemically extracted from barley grain using aqueous-enzymatic process and recovered by alcohol precipitation. Beta-glucan may be partially hydrolysed.
  • Molecular weight ≥ 175 kDa.
Novel fibre:
Reducing blood cholesterol levels.
Brans
Barley bran Obtained from dehulled or hull-less barley grain using standard dry milling techniques, which may include steaming or tempering. Novel fibre:
Reducing blood cholesterol levels.
Corn bran Corn grain pericarp separated by conventional dry- or wet- corn milling process. Novel fibre:
Improving laxation or regularity.
Oat bran Derived from dehulled oat kernels (oat groat) and providing at least 13% total dietary fibre, of which at least 30 percent must be soluble fibre. Traditional fibre
Wheat bran Outer layer of wheat grain obtained during wheat flour milling process. Traditional fibre
Fructooligosaccharides or oligofructose Mixture of fructose oligomers obtained by partial hydrolysis or by physical separation of traditional inulin sources, or enzymatically produced from sucrose. Novel fibre:
Providing energy-yielding metabolites.
Galactooligosaccharides Mixture of galactose oligomers produced by transgalactosylation of lactose derived from whey. Novel fibre:
Providing energy-yielding metabolites.
Inulin from chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke tuber or Blue agave head Standard inulin and long chain inulin obtained by hot water extraction and/or by conventional separation processes. Traditional fibre
Isomaltooligosaccharides Mixture of glucose oligomers enzymatically produced from edible starch and modified through a transglycosylation reaction. The majority of oligomers consists of 3 to 6 glucose units. Novel fibre:
Providing energy-yielding metabolites.
Oat beta-glucan concentrate Chemically extracted from oat grain using aqueous-alcohol-alkaline process or aqueous-alcohol-enzymatic process, then recovered by alcohol precipitation. Beta-glucan may be partially hydrolysed.
  • Molecular weight > 250 kDa.
Novel fibre:
Reducing postprandial blood glucose levels.
Oat hull fibre Outer layer of oat grain processed by hydro-thermal high pressure treatment, by alkaline hydrogen peroxide treatment, or by other conventional treatments. Novel fibre:
Improving laxation or regularity.
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum Sunfiber® (Taiyo International, Inc.). Novel fibre:
Reducing postprandial blood glucose levels.
Pea hull fibre Outer seed coat of field peas obtained by mechanical separation, by extraction of pea soluble material, or by other conventional processes. Novel fibre:
Improving laxation or regularity.
Peel and pulp
Apple peel Derived from apple processing and produced through conventional physical procedures (without chemical modification). Traditional fibre
Blueberry peel Derived from blueberry processing and produced through conventional physical procedures (without chemical modification). Traditional fibre
Cranberry peel Derived from cranberry processing and produced through conventional physical procedures (without chemical modification). Traditional fibre
Orange peel
Orange pulp
Derived from sweet orange processing and produced through conventional physical procedures (without chemical modification). Traditional fibre
Tomato pulp Derived from tomato processing and produced through conventional physical procedures (without chemical modification). Traditional fibre
Polydextrose Obtained by condensation of a melt consisting of approximately 90% glucose and 10% sorbitol in the presence of catalytic amounts of citric acid or phosphoric acid. Novel fibre:
Providing energy-yielding metabolites.
Polysaccharide complex (glucomannan, xanthan gum, sodium alginate) PGX®/PolyGlycopleX® (InovoBiologic). Novel fibre:
Reducing postprandial blood glucose levels.
Potato fibre Derived from potato tubers processed for starch production and obtained through conventional physical procedures (without chemical modification). Traditional fibre
Psyllium seed husk Dried seed coat of Plantago ovata or Plantago arenaria separated from the seed through a mechanical process.
  • Purity ≥ 95%; Fibre ≥ 80%; Protein ≤ 3%.
Novel fibre:
Improving laxation or regularity.
Resistant maltodextrin
Resistant corn maltodextrin
Maltodextrin (fibre)
Maltodextrin fibre
Corn maltodextrin (fibre)
Corn maltodextrin fibre
Corn maltodextrin (soluble fibre)
Corn maltodextrin soluble fibre
Maltodextrin (corn fibre)
Maltodextrin corn fibre
Maltodextrin (soluble corn fibre)
Maltodextrin soluble corn fibre

Note 1: The term maltodextrin can be replaced by dextrin.
Note 2: All names listed above are acceptable.
Note 3: Depending on the starch source, the term corn can be replaced by potato, tapioca, rice, wheat, etc.
Obtained from edible starch by:
  1. heat treatments, with or without addition of acids, and followed by sugar removal or
  2. treatments with heat, acids and enzymes, and followed by sugar removal. The product consists of polymers of glucose containing α(1-4) and α(1-6) glucosidic bonds, as well as varying amounts of α/ß(1-2), α/ß(1-3), ß(1-4) and ß(1-6) bonds.
  • Dextrose equivalent < 20%.
Novel fibre:
Providing energy-yielding metabolites.
Resistant starches
Resistant corn starch or
high amylose corn starch
Obtained from milling process of high amylose corn grain, followed or not by hydrothermal treatment.
  • Amylose content in high amylose corn varies from 50 to 90%.
Novel fibre:
Increasing sensitivity to insulin.
Resistant wheat starch or
modified wheat starch
Fibersym® RW and FiberRite® RW (MGP Ingredients, Inc.). Novel fibre:
Providing energy-yielding metabolites.
Sieved barley meal Beta-glucan concentrated via air classification of dry-milled barley grain. Traditional fibre
Soy cotyledon Derived from processing dehulled and defatted soybean flakes in mild alkaline conditions. Novel fibre:
Reducing blood cholesterol levels.
Sugar beet fibre Obtained from sugar beet pulp by pressing, steam drying and milling. Novel fibre:
Reducing postprandial blood glucose levels.
Syrup (fibre)
Corn syrup (fibre)
Corn syrup fibre
Corn syrup (soluble fibre)
Corn syrup soluble fibre
Corn syrup (soluble corn fibre)
Corn syrup soluble corn fibre
Glucose syrup (fibre)
Glucose syrup fibre
Glucose syrup (soluble fibre)
Glucose syrup soluble fibre
Glucose syrup (soluble corn fibre)
Glucose syrup soluble corn fibre

Dried glucose (corn fibre)
Dried glucose corn fibre
Dried glucose (soluble fibre)
Dried glucose soluble fibre
Dried glucose (soluble corn fibre)
Dried glucose soluble corn fibre
Dried glucose (fibre)
Dried glucose fibre

Corn glucose solids (fibre)
Corn glucose solids fibre
Glucose solids (corn fibre)
Glucose solids corn fibre
Glucose solids (fibre)
Glucose solids fibre
Glucose solids (soluble fibre)
Glucose solids soluble fibre
Glucose solids (soluble corn fibre)
Glucose solids soluble corn fibre

Note 1: All names listed above are acceptable.
Note 2: Depending on the starch source, the term corn can be replaced by potato, tapioca, rice, etc.
Obtained from edible starch by treatments with heat, acids and enzymes, and without sugar removal. The product consists of polymers of glucose containing α(1-4) and α(1-6) glucosidic bonds, as well as varying amounts of α/ß(1-2) and α/ß(1-3) bonds.
  • Dextrose equivalent ≥ 20%.
Novel fibre:
Providing energy-yielding metabolites.
Wheat flakes, starch-reduced Obtained from the amylolytic digestion of milled wheat kernel used for ethanol production. Novel fibre:
Improving laxation or regularity.
Whole or edible parts (pulp, peel) of traditional fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc. Processed through conventional procedures. Traditional foods

Health claims for dietary fibres

All health claims for food must be truthful and not misleading according to Section 5 of the Food and Drugs Act. Traditional fibres and accepted novel fibres, as any other foods, can carry health claims that are truthful and not misleading. This means that a health claim made about a beneficial effect of a specific dietary fibre source requires substantiation specific to this fibre source. Detailed information on the substantiation of health claims can be found in the Guidance Documents for Preparing Health Claims Submissions.

A novel fibre product with a demonstrated recognized fibre effect is primarily a source of nutrient (dietary fibre) and does not automatically qualify to carry a health claim. Thus, the demonstrated physiological effect should not be considered as a reviewed and accepted health claim.

Information about dietary fibres with health claims that have been reviewed and accepted by Health Canada’s Food Directorate (oat products, barley products, psyllium, coarse wheat bran, etc.) can be found in Health Canada’s Health Claim Assessments webpage and in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Table of Acceptable Food or Food Constituent Function Claims.

Manufacturers and distributors are legally responsible for ensuring that their product complies with all relevant food legislation and regulations and for the accuracy of all information on food product labels and in advertisements.

Contact us

Manufacturers who are considering the use of novel fibre sources and require further guidance on the fibre policy or on the content of this document may contact the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences by mail or electronically.

Bureau of Nutritional Sciences
Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch
Health Canada
251, Sir Frederick Banting Driveway, Tunney’s Pasture, A.L. 2203E, 
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1A 0K9

Email address: fibre@hc-sc.gc.ca

For questions about food health claims, contact: healthclaims-allegationssante@hc-sc.gc.ca

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