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Fiber Facts: Can You Trust Pills & Powders?

Understanding European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Guidelines

Synthetic fibers are common in many packaged foods and supplements in the United States. However, Europe is more cautious, with the safety of synthetic fibers remaining under scrutiny. Ovvia® refers to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidelines as the FDA is still updating its regulations.

Natural vs. Synthetic Fibers

Natural fibers originate from whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains (1). Synthetic fibers, made in labs, are frequently added to processed foods to increase fiber content or improve texture (2). The EFSA holds stricter standards than the FDA, approving synthetic fibers such as:

    • Inulin
    • Maltodextrin
    • Polydextrose(7)

 Health Benefits of Natural Fiber

Natural fiber consumption has been linked to improved digestion, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and effective weight management (3). European food policy emphasizes using whole, minimally processed ingredients (4), generally leading to healthier products than heavily processed alternatives.

Potential Concerns with Synthetic Fibers

After consuming foods with synthetic fibers, some people report gastrointestinal discomforts like gas, bloating, and cramping (5). While the full health impacts aren't fully understood, and more research is needed, it's crucial to consider potential side effects when selecting fiber-rich products. Some packaged foods containing synthetic fibers may pose a choking hazard. Always read labels for the latest warnings and instructions before consumption.

  See the image of an actual powdered, well-known fiber supplement below:

Ovvia® Recommends

To minimize potential health risks, focus on consuming whole, natural foods rich in dietary fiber (6,8). Read labels carefully, selecting products with whole grains and few additives. Whenever possible, avoid products with synthetic fiber.

Bottom Line

A balanced diet rich in natural fibers from whole foods is the best way to support your digestive health and overall well-being. Stay informed, read labels, and make choices that align with your health goals!

Learn more

Members can access the five-part "Fiber Video Series" in the Member's Program Library. You can listen to my podcast episode, "Fiber: The Natural Fat Blocker."

Elevate Your Health with Ovvia®

Join Ovvia® as a member or paid subscriber for exclusive recipes and additional video content with instructions on what foods to buy and why. Interactive Members also get access to expert advice and a supportive wellness community! 

© Ovvia® LLC 2023



  1.  Slavin, J. L. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417-1435.
  2. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). (2010). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Carbohydrates and dietary fiber. EFSA Journal, 8(3), 1462.
  3. Reynolds, A., Mann, J., Cummings, J., Winter, N., Mete, E., & Te Morenga, L. (2019). Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The Lancet, 393(10170), 434-445.
  4. Van Raaij, J., Hendriksen, M., & Verhagen, H. (2009). Potential for improvement of population diet through reformulation of commonly eaten foods. Public Health Nutrition, 12(3), 325-330.
  5. Grabitske, H. A., & Slavin, J. L. (2009). Gastrointestinal effects of low-digestible carbohydrates. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 49(4), 327-360.
  6. Bach-Faig, A., Berry, E. M., Lairon, D., Reguant, J., Trichopoulou, A., Dernini, S., ... & Serra-Majem, L. (2011). Mediterranean diet pyramid today. Science and cultural updates. Public Health Nutrition, 14(12A), 2274-228.
  7. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). (2011). Guidance on the scientific requirements for health claims related to dietary fibre. EFSA Journal, 9(6), 2474

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