Objective: To study the effect of the intake of 15 g nondigestible oligosaccharides per day on various parameters of large-bowel function, as well as on blood lipid concentrations and glucose absorption in man. Design: Latin square, randomized, double-blind, diet-controlled. Setting: Metabolic research unit. Subjects: Twelve apparently healthy men (mean age 23 years), recruited from the Institute's pool of volunteers, no drop-outs. Interventions: Four treatment periods of 3 weeks: inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and control; analyses of stool weight, intestinal transit, faecal pH, short-chain fatty acids, bile acids, faecal enzymes, blood lipids and glucose absorption. Results: As compared to the control treatment: higher concentration of faecal acetate (inulin and GOS, P < 0.05) and valerate (inulin, P < 0.05), significantly lower concentration of faecal deoxycholic acid (inulin and FOS, P < 0.05 and P < 0.02, respectively) and β-glucuronidase activity (inulin and GOS, P < 0.05 and P < 0.02 respectively). Other changes of faecal parameters and those of blood lipids and glucose absorption were statistically not significant. Conclusions: Results indicate that nondigestible oligosaccharides are (partly) fermented in the human colon, but in healthy young men the effects are limited. Also the consumption of 15 g nondigestible oligosaccharides does not seem to alter blood lipid concentrations and glucose absorption in our young healthy adults.