Dietary fiber is the subject of considerable recent interest and extensive reviews. Because they are hygroscopic, dietary fibers soften the stool and, hence, promote normal elimination. Fiber-rich diets may also increase satiety. Some fiber components, including oat bran and pectin, also lower plasma cholesterol levels, either by binding bile acids or by other mechanisms. The consumption of diets rich in plant foods (and therefore fiber) is inversely related to the incidence of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and diabetes.
Proteins are nitrogen-containing substances that are formed by amino acids. They serve as the major structural component of muscle and other tissues in the body. In addition, they are used to produce hormones, enzymes and hemoglobin. Proteins can also be used as energy.
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