OBJECTIVE Resistant maltodextrin has been shown to increase fecal bulk by resisting digestion and being partially fermented by colonic bacteria to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). The objective of this experiment was to determine potential prebiotic effects, gastrointestinal tolerance, and fecal characteristics of free-living humans fed a novel resistant maltodextrin or a normal maltodextrin control. METHODS Subjects (n = 38) were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind study where they were assigned to one of three daily treatments: 15 g maltodextrin; 7.5 g maltodextrin plus 7.5 g resistant maltodextrin (Fibersol-2; Matsutani Chemical Company, Hyogo, Japan); and 15 g resistant maltodextrin. The experiment lasted 7 wk and consisted of a 2 wk baseline period, a 3 wk treatment period, and a 2 wk washout period. During wk 3 to 5 (treatment period), subjects consumed their assigned treatments. RESULTS Resistant maltodextrin supplementation tended to increase (p = 0.12) fecal Bifidobacterium populations during the treatment period, altered (p < 0.05) bacterial populations from baseline to treatment, and resulted in very minor effects in gastrointestinal tolerance. There was a shift (p < 0.05) in molar proportions of SCFA towards butyrate, the preferred energy substrate of colonocytes. CONCLUSION Resistant maltodextrin supplementation was well tolerated, resulted in favorable fermentation characteristics in the large bowel, and also resulted in a change in bacterial populations.
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