Green lentils are an increasingly popular food, but their effects on human colonic function and serum lipids have been studied little. Nine healthy males aged 19-38 y consumed for 3-wk periods a controlled Western diet and the same diet supplemented with 130 g dry lentils/d [which contained 11.8 g non-starch polysaccharide (NSP)] incorporated into loaves, cakes, and soups. Protein was equilibrated with soy protein isolate and carbohydrate with soft drinks. Radioopaque markers were used to calculate mean transit time (MTT) and to correct fecal weight for infrequency of bowel movements. Feces were collected throughout the study and blood was taken on 2 d at the end of each period. Lentils increased fecal weight from 131 +/- 12 g/d (means +/- SEM) to 189 +/- 17.4 g/d (44.9%) (P < 0.005). MTT was unchanged: 46 +/- 6 h for the control diet and 43 +/- 4 h for the lentils (NS). Fecal nitrogen was increased to 2.49 +/- 0.08 g/d for lentils compared with 1.74 +/- 0.09 g/d for the control diet (P < 0.001) and urine nitrogen decreased to 15.31 +/- 0.52 g/d with the lentils compared with 15.90 +/- 0.51 g/d for the control diet (P < 0.05); nitrogen balance was unaffected. Serum lipids were unchanged by addition of lentils to the diet. Green lentils were effective in increasing fecal weight and can therefore make a valuable contribution to a healthy diet.