Wheat bran extract (WBE) is a food-grade soluble fibre preparation that is highly enriched in arabinoxylan–oligosaccharides. In this placebo-controlled cross-over human intervention trial, tolerance to WBE as well as the effects of WBE on faecal parameters, including faecal output and bowel habits, were studied. After a 2-week run-in period, twenty healthy volunteers consumed WBE (15 g/d in the first week, 30 g/d in the second week), oligofructose (15 g/d in the first week, 30 g/d in the second week) and placebo (for 2 weeks) in a random order, with 2-week washout periods between each treatment period. Subjects collected a 72 h stool sample for analysis of faecal output, stool pH and stool moisture concentration. Additionally, the volunteers completed questionnaires scoring occurrence frequency and distress severity of eighteen gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. An overall GI symptom measure was calculated to analyse the overall effect of WBE and oligofructose on GI symptoms. Intake of both 30 g/d WBE and 30 g/d oligofructose lowered stool pH, indicative of increased colonic fermentation, and increased stool moisture concentration as compared with placebo intake. Intake of 30 g/d oligofructose increased the overall GI symptom measure by 1·9-fold as compared with placebo intake. Intake of WBE at doses up to 30 g/d did not affect the overall GI symptom measure. WBE exerts beneficial effects on stool characteristics and is well tolerated at up to 30 g/d. Oligofructose exerts comparable beneficial effects on stool characteristics. However, intake of 30 g/d oligofructose appears to cause GI discomfort to some extent.