Soluble and Insoluble Fiber.txt
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
Fiber is the structural material of plants and is found in all
fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds. It is
a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot break down, so you
can't absorb it. There are two types: soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps to prevent
constipation. Soluble fiber binds to fat in the intestines and keep
some fat from being absorbed.
Insoluble fiber may help to prevent colon cancer by speeding
cancer-causing agents through the digestive system. It helps with
weight control because it binds to water, creating bulk that makes
you feel full. It can help control diabetes because it slows the
rate at which your body absorbs glucose.
Soluble fiber has an added benefit. When you add more soluble fiber
to your diet, it lowers blood levels of the plaque-forming LDL
cholesterol. Soluble fiber is degraded by bacteria in the colon to
form types of fatty acids that are absorbed into the bloodstream and
help to block the synthesis of cholesterol by the liver. This is the
only food component we know will lower blood cholesterol when you
add more to your diet. However, people who have high blood levels of
cholesterol must do a lot more than just add soluble fiber to their
diet. They also should not smoke, not be overweight, and exercise
You should eat at least 30 grams of fiber per day, and the average
North American gets only 11 grams. There's very little fiber in the
typical diet of hamburgers, pizza, fried chicken and coke. Foods
made from animal products never have any fiber, and processed foods
made from grains, vegetables or fruit frequently have most of the
fiber removed. Wheat berries, baked potatoes, apples and oranges
contain many times more fiber than bread, potato chips, apple jelly
or orange juice.
Don't worry about whether you are getting soluble or insoluble
fiber; you need both kinds, and both are found in fruits,
vegetables, whole grains and beans. If you're not getting enough
fiber, don't try to correct the situation by adding fiber
supplements, lots of bran cereal or foods made with added ground-up
fiber. When you eat whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and
beans, you get all of the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals
nature packages with the fiber. Introduce more high-fiber whole
foods into your diet gradually to avoid digestive discomfort.