Cladodes: a Source of Dietary Fiber



In the last decade, the developed countries have significantly changed their ways of life, and in
particular their eating habits. Consumers prefer ready-to-eat foods and a diet that is low in
calories, low in cholesterol, low in fat or in other words ?healthy foods?. In accordance with
this trend, consumers also want to eat foods with a greater fiber content. Consumers know the
relationships between fiber consumption and control of cholesterol, and prevention of illnesses
such as diabetes and obesity(Hollingsworth, 1996; Grijspaardt-Vink, 1996; Sloan, 1994). Dietary
fiber can also contribute to the prevention, or treatment of illnesses like gastrointestinal
disorders, that are associated with a lack of dietary fiber intake. Thus the trend is to search for
new natural foods of which fiber is a very appreciated component. This paper will illustrate
that cactus cladodes have excellent potential as a new source of fiber in human nutrition.