Elements within the Nutrition Facts Table

For labelling purposes, the total amount of declared carbohydrates must include sugars (e.g., monosaccharides such as glucose, and disaccharides such as sucrose), starch, dietary fibre, sugar alcohols (e.g., isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, mannitol, sorbitol, sorbitol syrup, xylitol, erythritol), glycerol and polydextrose.

The amount of carbohydrate may be determined by subtracting the content of protein, fat, ash and moisture from the weight of the product.

Dietary Fibre

The Policy for Labelling and Advertising of Dietary Fibre-Containing Food Products (Health Canada, February 2012) defines dietary fibre as follows:

Dietary fibre consists of:

  1. carbohydrates with a degree of polymerization of 3 or more that naturally occur in foods of plant origin and that are not digested and absorbed by the small intestine; and
  2. accepted novel fibres.

Novel fibres are ingredients manufactured to be sources of dietary fibre and consist of carbohydrates with a degree of polymerization of 3 or more that are not digested and absorbed by the small intestine. They are synthetically produced or are obtained from natural sources which have no history of safe use as dietary fibre or which have been processed so as to modify the properties of the fibre contained therein. Accepted novel fibres have at least one physiological effect demonstrated by generally accepted scientific evidence.

The substances in part 1 of this definition are all edible plant materials that have a history of use as food and have been processed or cooked using conventional processes. They include fruits, vegetables, pulses, seeds, nuts, cereals, legumes, etc.

Substances in part 2 of the definition include substances obtained from agricultural crop by-products and from raw plant materials, substances of animal or bacterial origin, chemically modified substances, synthetic products, etc. These substances are not historically used as food fibre sources. In addition, novel fibres may also include products used at higher than traditionally used levels in the diet.

The Food Directorate of Health Canada conducts premarket assessment of novel fibre sources based on Health Canada's Food Directorate Guideline No. 9, "Guideline Concerning the Safety and Physiological Effects of Novel Fibre Sources and Food Products Containing Them," (revised November, 1997) and the Policy for Labelling and Advertising of Dietary Fibre-Containing Food Products (Health Canada, February 2012).

The safety of novel fibre sources must be established before they may be used as ingredients in foods. As well, the physiological effect(s) of novel fibre sources as dietary fibre must be established before they may be claimed to be a source of dietary fibre in foods.

If a proposed fibre source is a "Novel Food", subject to notification under Division 28 of the Food and Drug Regulations, a novel food application must be completed according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods and submitted to Health Canada preceding or concurrent with a novel fibre application.

Novel food ingredients (under Division 28 of the Food and Drug Regulations) reviewed and found safe for human consumption by Health Canada are listed on the Novel Food Decisions page of the Health Canada website.

If the physiological effect of a novel fibre source has not been demonstrated, the ingredient is considered an unproven novel fibre. If safe, it may be used in foods but it cannot be claimed to be a source of dietary fibre, and its amount of dietary fibre must not be included as part of the total dietary fibre declaration in the Nutrition Facts table.

If a novel fibre source has been reviewed by the Food Directorate of Health Canada and found acceptable as a dietary fibre source (safety and physiological effect demonstrated), the manufacturer will receive a "letter of no objection". If applicable, the letter will indicate any restriction on the use of the novel fibre source. These "letters of no objection" are generic, unless otherwise specified. Generic dietary fibres include products with history of use as fibre sources, or which have been manufactured through conventional processes, or have been previously reviewed and accepted by Health Canada. The amount of dietary fibre from the accepted novel fibre sources can be included as part of the total dietary fibre declaration in the Nutrition Facts table.

Manufacturers who are considering the use of novel fibre sources and require further guidance are advised to contact the Submission Management and Information Unit within the Food Directorate, Health Canada.

Acceptable dietary fibre sources, including generic and brand name products, are listed in the Table below. They may be used in all unstandardized foods except infant formula unless otherwise specified. The addition of dietary fibre sources is not permitted in standardized foods unless a provision for their addition is made in the Food and Drug Regulations or other standards.

This table summarizes Accepted Dietary Fibres and their sources
Dietary Fibre NameDescription
Acacia Gum (Gum Arabic)

Dried exudate from stems and branches of Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal species, processed by water dissolution, purification, concentration and drying

Barley bran Obtained from dehulled or hull-less barley grain using standard dry milling techniques, which may include steaming or tempering
Beta-glucan concentrate from oat or barley Chemically extracted from oat or barley grain, followed or not by partial hydrolysis
Corn bran Corn grain pericarp separated by conventional dry- or wet- corn milling process - Maximum permitted in high fibre cereal is 46.7%
Corn syrup (fibre) Promitor™ Soluble Corn Fibre 70 (Tate & Lyle)
Fructooligosaccharides or oligofructose Mixture of fructose oligomers obtained by partial hydrolysis of traditional inulin sources, or enzymatically produced from sucrose
Galactooligosaccharides Mixture of galactose oligomers enzymatically produced from lactose derived from whey
High amylose corn starch Obtained from milling process of high amylose corn grain, followed or not by hydrothermal treatment. Amylose content in high amylose corn varies from 50 to 90%
Inulin from chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke tuber or Blue agave head Standard inulin and long chain inulin obtained by hot water extraction and/or by conventional separation processes
Isomaltooligosaccharides Mixture of glucose oligomers enzymatically produced from starch and modified through transglycosylation reaction
Maltodextrin (fibre) or resistant maltodextrin from corn, potato, tapioca, rice, etc. Partial hydrolysis of edible starch by heat/acid/enzymatic treatment followed by sugar removal. The product consists of polymers of glucose containing α(1-4) and α(1-6) glucosidic bonds, as well as α/ß(1-2) and α/ß(1-3) linkages
Modified wheat starch Fibersym® RW and FiberRite® RW (MGP Ingredients, Inc.)
Oat bran Derived from dehulled oat kernels (oat groat) and providing at least 13% total dietary fibre, of which at least 30 percent must be soluble fibre
Oat hull fibre Outer layer of oat grain processed by hydro-thermal high pressure treatment, by alkaline hydrogen peroxide treatment, or by other conventional treatments
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum Sunfiber® (Taiyo International, Inc.)
Pea hull fibre Outer seed coat of field peas obtained by mechanical separation, by extraction of pea soluble material, or by other conventional processes
Polydextrose Obtained by condensation of a melt consisting of approximately 90% glucose and 10% sorbitol in the presence of catalytic amounts of citric acid or phosphoric acid
Polysaccharide complex (glucomannan, xanthan gum, sodium alginate) PGX® / PolyGlycopleX® (InovoBiologic)
Psyllium seed husk Dried seed coat of Plantago ovata or Plantago arenaria separated from the seed through a mechanical process. Purity: ≥95%; Total fibre: ≥80%; Protein: ≤3%; Light extraneous matter: ≤4.5%; Heavy extraneous matter: ≤0.5%; Combined extraneous matter: ≤4.9%. Recommended warning statements on the label of psyllium-containing products - "This product may cause allergic reaction in people sensitive to inhaled or ingested psyllium" - For products containing dry or incompletely hydrated psyllium husk, in Directions for Use section, indicate necessity to consume the product with enough fluid in order to avoid throat obstruction
Sieved barley meal Beta-glucan concentrated via air classification of dry-milled barley grain
Soy cotyledon Derived from processing dehulled and defatted soybean flakes in mild alkaline conditions
Sugar beet fibre Obtained from sugar beet pulp by pressing, steam drying and milling - Maximum use level in foods is 7%
Wheat flakes, starch-reduced Obtained from the amylolytic digestion of milled wheat kernel used for ethanol production
Wheat bran Outer layer of wheat grain obtained during wheat flour milling process
Whole or edible parts (for example, flour, pulp and peel) of traditional fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc. Processed through conventional procedures

For calculating the energy value of dietary fibre , please refer to the energy section.

Dietary Fibre Analysis

For assessing compliance, CFIA has adopted the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) 2009.01 method as of April 1st, 2012. Health Canada's Fibre Policy also provides a list of acceptable and validated methods that may be used to quantify fibre.

Date modified: