This paper explores the principles behind producing healthier biscuits by supplementing them with dietary fiber. Snacks ‘R’ Us is involved in the production of sweet biscuits for sale in Australian supermarkets. As a way to extend its product range and promote the company’s social responsibility image, Snacks ‘R’ Us should consider producing sweet biscuits with dietary fiber added. The biscuits with dietary fiber can be critical in weight management and in the prevention of bowel cancer. This paper specifically addresses the issue of adding dietary fiber to the biscuits for a number of reasons enlisted in this paper.
The eating lifestyles in Australia and worldwide has increasingly being shaped by a number of factors which have partly been brought by the forces of globalization. The family and cultural background, people’s awareness about nutrition and advertising and promotion campaigns among others are some of the important factors that dictate how modern Australians consume food. The time and money available also determines the consumption styles of Australian people. Biscuits are fast foods and often require no preparation. This makes them to be preferred to other foods which may need a long time to prepare. However, biscuits present a significant challenge as a majority of them are rich in high calories and may lead to overweight among other complications. To counter this problem, Snacks ‘R’ Us can add dietary fibre to sweet biscuits which are widely available in Australian market to make them even healthier. Supplementing the biscuits with dietary fibre has been shown to be instrumental in the prevention of bowel cancer and in weight management.
Roles of soluble and insoluble fibre in the body
Dietary fibre consists of all the food components which are neither digested nor absorbed by the body (Lin & Dong, 2010). This means that this indigestible food material passes down the digestive system and excreted with other food remains as faecal matter. There are two major types of dietary fibres which are soluble and insoluble fibres. Soluble fibres consist of indigestible food materials which dissolve easily in water and our digestive system. After dissolving, this fibre forms a thick substance which checks down the rate of digestion. According to Lin and Dong, soluble fibre plays a vital role in reducing cholesterol in the blood by attracting it hence reducing its absorption thereby passing out together with the stool (Lin & Dong, 2010). Soluble fibres also help in reducing blood sugar level. This underpins the reason why there is need to incorporate these form of fibres in the biscuits being produced by Sweet ‘R’ Us. This can be achieved through the inclusion of extracts rich in food that are good sources of insoluble fibres such as apples, carrots, and oatmeal (Zank & Kemp, 2012).
Insoluble fibre consists of indigestible food materials which do not dissolve in water and forms the large part of the bulky part of a diet and faecal matter. Insoluble fibres are essential in a diet as they help in controlling the weight gain (Zank & Kemp, 2012). This is so because, the bulk helps a person to feel full in his or her stomach after taking a small portion of food with insoluble fibres. Additionally, insoluble fibres help in preventing constipation by holding the faecal matter together and allowing the development of vital bacterial which are essential in digestion process (Lin & Dong, 2010). In our case, we can incorporate insoluble fibre by using adequate proportions of bran, whole meal flour and vegetables. However, it is important to consider the calorific needs of those who will consume the biscuits so as not to compromise on their energy needs.
How Dietary Fibre Promotes Health
Dietary fibre intake is highly recommended as it provides a host of health benefits in the human body. Individuals taking high amounts of dietary fibre seem to have incredibly lower risks of developing stroke, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity diabetes and some forms of gastrointestinal complications. Any increase in fibre intake works to reduce the levels of serum cholesterol and blood pressure (Anderson et al, 2009). Following this observation, the supplementation of dietary fibre in biscuits sold in Australian supermarkets will be an effective move in improving the health of the consumers by keeping at bay a number of illnesses that are burdensome to the general population. Among diabetic and non-diabetic individuals, dietary fibre intake increases sensitivity to insulin and glycaemic conditions.
Most importantly dietary fibre is beneficial in the prevention of a number of cancers including bowel cancer. Early studies published in 2005 presented evidence from a large pooled analysis that dietary intake of fibre was inversely linked to the increase in bowel cancer risks (Park et al, 2005). However, researchers undertaking the study did not find any meaningful benefit of increased dietary fibre intake after accounting for the risk factors associated with such intakes (Park et al, 2005). While this study used a large population sample of 8081 colorectal cancer cases selected among 725,628 men and women were followed up for up to 20 years, the study only cites that fibre from cereals, vegetables and fruits are not effective in preventing colorectal cancer (Park et al, 2005). No recommendations are given on the sources of dietary fibre capable of preventing colorectal cancer even after recognizing its importance in bowel cancer prevention. While some studies employing large cohorts have rejected the evidence that dietary fibre intake indeed prevents bowel cancer, one recent study has stressed the importance of high dietary fibre intake in the prevention of colorectal cancer (Neil et al 2012). This study specifies that fibre from cereals, and not from fruits and vegetables, is critical in the prevention of bowel cancer (Neil et al 2012).
Dietary fibre is critical among obese and overweight individuals as it encourages weight loss (Anderson et al, 2009). Fibre has always been associated with hunger, satiety, body composition and energy intake among healthy individuals (Howarth, Saltzman & Roberts, 2001). A number of studies have presented evidence that soluble and insoluble fibre intake largely increases post-meal satiety at the same time reducing any subsequent feeling of hunger. The consumption of up to 14g/day has been shown to contribute to weight loss among obese individuals (Howarth, Saltzman & Roberts, 2001). From the sampled epidemiological data from human studies, researchers have found that the supplementation of functional fibre in foods can significantly be critical in improving the success of weight loss (Slavin, 2005). While this study offers recommendations about the importance of dietary fibre in diet, it employs secondary data which is always prone to scrutiny (Slavin, 2005).
Individuals suffering from haemorrhoids, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diverticulitis, duodenal ulcers and constipation will also have enormous gains if they have fibre supplementation in their diet (Anderson et al, 2009). Since biscuits are fast foods and need no preparation, supplementation of sweet biscuits manufactured by Sweets ‘R’ Us with dietary fibre. Prebiotic fibres are known to be essential in enhancing the immune system in the body. These benefits derived from dietary fibre are paramount among children and adults and nutritionists recommend a daily intake of up to 14g/1000 kcal [(Anderson et al, 2009), (Howarth, Saltzman & Roberts, 2001). It is required that effective campaigns and communication be done in the entire Australian region in order to sensitize the general population of the importance of dietary fibre in human diet.
Current dietary fibre intake of Australians
The average current dietary fibre intake among Australians stands at 14g grams (Howarth, Saltzman & Roberts, 2001). This falls far below the recommended dietary intake of 30 grams per day for adult males and 25 grams per day for adult females. On the lower side, teenagers should take a minimum of 25 grams per day on average (MOH Manatu Hauora, 2005). This means that there is need to improve on the dietary intake among Australians of all ages. Most of these fibres originate from different sources depending on the composition of different food taken within Australia.
To begin with the large part of the diet of Australians is composed of cereals which are taken during lunch and supper. Additionally, bread is also taken in higher quantities especially during breakfast and dinner time (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008). However, the percentage fibre content in this form of food is low thus it cannot be depended upon to contribute to the fibre deficiency in the Australian diet (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008). The other source of fibre is fresh vegetables which are taken in substantial quantities but only during lunch and supper (Karen & Paula, 2005). This puts Biscuits ‘R’ Us at a good position of playing a leading role in bringing the levels of daily fibre intake to the recommended ones by incorporating it in our biscuits.
Dietary fibre significantly reduces the risks for individuals developing a number of complications such as stroke, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and gastrointestinal diseases. With the pressures brought by globalisation, many Australians have changed their eating styles and fast foods have increasingly been preferred. What makes fast foods such as biscuits, cakes and sodas a preferred option compared to eating traditional foods include the time and money available for spending. Unfortunately, sweet biscuits are rich in high calories which can at the same time pose serious dangers in terms of increasing risks to complications such as obesity and overweight. Adding dietary fibre to sweet biscuits counters this problem to make the eating of sweet biscuits a healthy option to undertake. Snacks ‘R’ Us manufactures sweet biscuits for sale in Australian supermarkets. Expanding the range of biscuits the company produces by supplementing them with dietary fibre aims at encouraging healthy eating and thus building its name as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) aware company.
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