Soluble and insoluble fibers, what’s the difference?

fiber essential for health

Dietary fiber, an indigestible part of plant material, consists of two main types. Soluble fibers are easily soluble in water, they break down into a gel substance in a part of the intestine known as the large intestine. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and remains intact as food moves through gastrointestinal tract .

The term fiber refers to all parts of plant foods that the body cannot digest or absorb. Unlike simple carbohydrates, including most types of bread and sugar, fiber is a complex carbohydrate and does not raise blood sugar levels.

Fiber is commonly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. They are also sometimes called large foods. Fiber is an essential nutrient, and must be present in a healthy diet.

Facts about soluble and insoluble fibers: Soluble and insoluble are the two main types of fibers. Many fiber-rich foods contain both types. People have been using fiber as a dietary aid since ancient times. In a society that is built on refined carbohydrates or white bread, pasta and sweeteners with sugar, the necessary amount of fiber is not included for the healthy functioning of the organism.

Soluble fibers versus insoluble ones

Soluble fibers

Soluble fibers dissolve in water and gastrointestinal fluids when they enter the stomach and intestines. The fibers are transformed into a gel-like substance that breaks down bacteria in the colon, releasing gas and a few calories.

Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water or gastrointestinal fluids and remain more or less intact as they move through the digestive tract. Because insoluble fiber is not digested at all, it is not a source of calories

Benefits of fiber

The health benefits of dietary fiber are innumerable. Some of the main ones are listed here.

Soluble fibers

Soluble fiber reduces fat absorption and helps in weight regulation . Like a thick, spreading gel, soluble fibers block fats that would otherwise be digested and absorbed. Cholesterol lowering , soluble fiber prevents cholesterol from being broken down and digested. Over time, soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol levels or the amount of free cholesterol in the blood. Stabilization blood sugar levels (glucose), just as they prevent the absorption of fat, soluble fiber slows down the rate of digestion of other nutrients, including carbohydrates.

This means that foods that contain soluble fiber are less likely to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar levels and can prevent them. By reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering cholesterol levels, stabilizing blood sugar and reducing fat absorption, regular consumption of soluble fiber can reduce the risk of heart disease and blood flow. Feeding healthy bacteria in the gut, some soluble foods rich in fiber feed the bacteria in the gut.

Insoluble fibers

insoluble fibers

Prevention constipation , as an indigestible material insoluble fibers stand in the gastrointestinal tract absorbing fluid and absorbing other digestive by-products that are ready to form in the stool. Its presence accelerates the movement and processing of waste, helping to reduce bowel movements and prevent constipation. Reducing the risk of diverticular disease, insoluble fibers have a preventive effect on obstruction and intestinal blockages. They help reduce the risk of developing small wrinkles and hemorrhoids in the colon. Insoluble fiber can also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer .

Soluble and insoluble fibers

Feeling full longer after a meal, soluble fiber slows down the speed of digestion, which means that most people feel full longer after a meal that is rich in fiber. Insoluble fibers physically fill the space in the stomach and intestines, increasing the feeling of satiety.

These fiber properties can significantly help people manage their weight. Reducing the risk of disease Due to the many health benefits of fiber, a high fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of many diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease , diabetes, metabolic syndrome and others

Good fiber sources

Each label on food packaging contains the amount of dietary fiber in each serving.

If the product is marketed on the basis of high amounts of fiber or has health benefits, the amount of soluble and insoluble fiber in grams per meal must be listed under the heading dietary fiber. Some manufacturers may also voluntarily provide soluble and insoluble content of fibrous elements in the product.

According to the FDA, foods that are considered to contain a large amount of fiber contain at least 20% of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber per serving. Foods that have 5% or less are considered poor sources of dietary fiber.

Peas and cereals contain a lot of fiber. Plenty of fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. Common foods that are a good source of fiber include:

  • boiled sailor beans (1/2 cup contains 9.5 g)
  • 100% ready bran (1/2 cup contains 8.8 g)
  • canned beans (1/2 cup contains 8.2 g)
  • boiled peas (1/2 cup contains 8.1 g)
  • cooked lentils (1/2 cup contains 7.8 g)
  • cooked black beans (1/2 cup contains 7.8 / 7.5 g)
  • cooked artichoke (one whole artichoke contains 6.5 g9
  • cooked white beans / shiny northern beans (1/2 cup contains 6.3-6.2 g)
  • ripe soy (1/2 cup cooked contains 5.2g)
  • plain waffles or crackers82 crackers contain 5.0gr)
  • baked sweet potato peel (one medium potato contains 4.8g)
  • raw pear or Asian pear (1 small pear contains 4.3-4.4 g9
  • cooked green peas (1/2 cup contains 4.4 g)
  • English muffin / whole wheat bread (1 muffin or two slices contains 4.4 g9
  • cooked bulgur wheat (1/2 cup contains 4.1g)
  • raw raspberry (1/2 cup contains 4.0g)
  • boiled sweet potatoes without peel (1 medium potato contains 3.9 g)
  • baked potatoes with peel (1 medium potato contains 3.8 g)
  • prunes (1/2 cup contains 3.8 g)
  • dried figs (1/2 cup contains 3.7-3.8 g)
  • raw oat bran (1/2 cup contains 3.6 g)
  • canned pumpkin (1/2 cup contains 3.6r)
  • boiled spinach (1/2 cup contains 3.5 g)
  • chopped grains of finished wheat (1 ounce contains 2.8-3.4 g9
  • raw almonds (1 contains 3.3g)
  • raw apple with skin (1 medium apple includes 3.3gr)
  • cooked whole wheat spaghetti (1/2 cup contains 3.1g)
  • raw banana or orange (1 fruit contains 3.1g)

Healthy food

A healthy diet contains a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is more common in the diet, such as peas, oats, barley, apples and citrus fruits. Good sources of insoluble fiber are beans, whole wheat or bran products, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower and walnuts.
Although there are many fiber supplements, most do not contain additional vitamins and minerals including vitamin B and iron found in high-fiber foods. Artificial supplements cannot be easily or completely absorbed by the body.

Dietary fiber: why do we need it? Why are fibers important?

Dietary fiber

It is useful to know some simple rules when buying and preparing meals. Good tips for increasing fiber intake include:

Harvesting whole grain products, choosing foods that are naturally rich in fiber through supplements such as Metamucil Citrucel and others.

Eat beans and peas daily. Eat at least once a day foods that contain 20% DV per serving. Consume fruits and vegetables with skins when possible. Looking for the best way to eat certain foods. The amount of dietary fiber in many foods varies depending on whether they are raw, cooked, stewed, fried or baked. Choosing unrefined cereal products and cereals that you will regularly include in your diet.

Harvesting whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices. Add more beans, peas instead of meat or use as the main ingredients in the preparation of pasta or frying dishes. Make spreads from beans, peas and other legumes.

Eat unsweetened nuts, seeds or dried fruits as snacks or combine them with cereals, salads or yogurt. Start the day with breakfast where whole grains and 100% bran are used. Use brown rice instead of white variety.

The study reveals how much fiber we need to eat to prevent disease

A new meta-analysis has been researching for 40 years to find out how much fiber we should consume to prevent the onset of chronic diseases and premature mortality.
Researchers and public health organizations have been emphasizing the importance of fiber in our daily healthy diet for many years, but exactly how much fiber should we consume?
This question prompted the World Health Organization to launch a new study to determine the right answer to this question. The results appear in The Lancet.
The aim of the new research was to help develop new guidelines on the consumption of dietary fiber as well as to discover which carbohydrates protect the body most from non-communicable diseases and which can prevent weight gain.

Professor JIm Mann of the University of Otago in New Zealand is the author of the study, and Andrew Reynolds, a postdoctoral researcher at Dunedin School of Medicine, is the first author. Professor Mann explains the motivation for the study by saying: Previous reviews and meta-analyzes usually examined one indicator of carbohydrate quality and a limited number of diseases, so it was not possible to determine which foods to recommend for consumption. To find out, the researchers performed meta-analysis, observational studies and clinical research.

A daily fiber intake in the range of 25-29 grams is ideal

Reynolds and colleagues examined data included in 185 observational studies of 135 million people and 58 clinical trials that employed more than 4,600 people. The analyzed studies lasted for almost 40 years.

Scientists have investigated the frequency of certain chronic diseases, as well as the rate of premature death as a consequence. These conditions were: coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and a number of obesity-related cancers such as breast cancer, esophageal cancer and prostate cancer.

Consumption of fiber in the diet can delay the aging of the brain and keep it young

Research has found that people who eat the most fiber in their diet are 15-30% less likely to die prematurely from any cause or cardiovascular condition, compared to those who consume a very small amount of fiber in their diet. Consumption of fiber-rich foods is associated with a 16-24 percent lower incidence of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.

Foods rich in fiber include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes such as peas, beans, lentils. The analysis also revealed that people should consume 25-29 grams daily in order to gain the stated health benefits. Adults in the United States consume an average of 15 grams of fiber per day. The authors also suggest that consuming more than 29 grams per day can bring even greater health benefits.

However, although the study itself did not determine the harmful effects of consuming fiber on health, they believe that excessive amounts could be harmful for people who do not have enough iron or minerals in the body. Consuming large amounts of whole grains can further deplete an iron-deficient organism. Clinical trials have also found that fiber consumption directly affects lower cholesterol levels and lower body weight.

Why are fibers so good for you?

Professor Mann states that the health benefits of fiber have been supported in over 100 years of research into chemistry, physical properties, physiology and the effects on metabolism.

The professor states that all foods rich in fiber that require chewing and retain a good part of their structure in the intestines and increase satiety and help control body weight can have a beneficial effect on lipid and glucose levels.

The breakdown of fibers in the colon by resident bacteria has additional broad effects including protection against colon cancer. These findings provide compelling evidence for dietary guidelines aimed at increasing dietary fiber and replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces mortality from a wide range of mild and severe diseases.


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