Effect of Dietary Fiber (Soy Polysaccharide) on the Severity, Duration, and Nutritional Outcome of Acute, Watery Diarrhea in Children
Objective. To assess the effects of dietary fiber (soy polysaccharide) on the severity, duration, and nutritional outcome of acute, watery childhood diarrhea.
Methods. A total of 34 hospitalized Peruvian male infants between 2 and 24 months of age were randomly assigned to receive a soy-protein isolate, lactose-free formula with added soy polysaccharide (group SF, n = 19) or the same diet without added fiber (group S, n = 15). The consumption of formulas, stool amount and consistency, absorption of macronutrients, and change in anthropometric status were measured.
Results. Children in both groups were initially similar with regard to age, nutritional status, and prior duration and severity of diarrhea. Four patients in group SF (21%) and two in group S (13%) failed therapy because of recurrent dehydration or severe purging (P = .67). Formula intakes increased slightly during hospitalization (P = .03), but did not vary by dietary group (P = .73). Stool outputs declined significantly (P < .001) during hospitalization, but there were no significant differences by dietary group in either stool wet weight (P = .83) or dry weight (P = .87). Estimated median durations of liquid stool excretion after hospitalization were 43 hours in group SF and 163 hours in group S (P = .003). There were no significant differences in fractional or net absorption of macronutrients or change in anthropometric status by dietary group.
Conclusions. Soy polysaccharide, while not affecting stool output, macronutrient absorption, or nutritional status during acute, watery childhood diarrhea, significantly and markedly reduced the duration of liquid stool excretion.
- Received November 3, 1992.
- Accepted February 24, 1993.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics