Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber: What’s the Difference?

Dietary fibers, also known as roughage, are an essential part of our daily diet. The help us maintain a healthy gut and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer.

soluble vs insoluble fiber

Most chronic illnesses around the world can be traced from a poor digestion process. Unhealthy digestion results in body waste and toxins accumulating in our colon and leads to potential health issues. One way to prevent these issues is to boost intake of dietary fibers. Get to know two types of fiber in this article, soluble and insoluble fiber.

What are Dietary Fibers?

Dietary fibers, also known as roughage, are an essential part of our daily diet. They help maintain a healthy gut and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer. Dietary fibers boost digestion and provide many other health benefits like lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating fiber-rich food has become a trend among people on diet and studies also proved that it helps to maintain a healthy weight.

Dietary fibers are present in fruits, vegetables, and few grains and nuts. It is an indigestible carbohydrate but this food component does not clog into your colon when it passes through.

Its carbohydrate content is low on calories and all plant-based carbohydrates have a complex build up that does not affect blood sugars or raise cholesterol levels. So foods rich in dietary fibers are safe for daily consumption and there is no known potential health hazard if this food component if eaten in excess.

Most people disregard the importance of a well-balanced diet; instead, average people would consume a high calorie and fat meal. Without the help of fibers, it may remain in your colon and produce harmful toxins. Flushing these toxins out of our system is one of the essential benefits of daily fiber intake.

Benefits of Dietary Fiber

And how the fibers help maintain your health depends on what type of dietary fiber consumed. Soluble fibers allow your system to absorb toxins and bad cholesterol then pushing these toxins out of your body, thus, slows the digestion process. The slowing of digestion will cause the individual feeling full and reduce cravings. While insoluble fiber cleans the intestinal tracts and speeds up the digestion process. It is especially helpful during constipation.

Imagine soluble fibers like a sponge that absorbs these harmful elements in your body then eventually throwing them out. And Insoluble fibers like a scrubber that brushes these toxins out of your body.

Though these two dietary fibers may differ in how they process toxins and health benefits, both functions as cleaning agents that flushes out these harmful elements from the body and prevent illnesses from occurring.

The following we’ll further discuss these two types of fibers and their benefits.

Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber

Soluble Fibers

It combines with liver enzymes and water that contains gums and plant pectin, these compounds dissolved together that creates a gel. You may also imagine it like a filter because this gel prevents toxins from entering the bloodstream and enhances the body’s absorption of nutrients. This gel absorbs the harmful elements then broken down by bacteria’s present in the large intestine and eventually flushed out from the body.

Helpful to people trying to lose weight because this fiber creates a type of gas that makes you feel full, thus, prevents any cravings that you may have.

Soluble fibers are common to peas, barley tea, brown rice, lentils, and peas.

Benefits of soluble fibers:

  • It feeds the probiotic bacteria and supports their longevity. Probiotic bacteria’s are essential in the digestion process and maintenance of a healthy colon.
  • It helps to maintain a healthy weight. It enables you to eliminate cravings.
  • Soluble fibers reduce your chances of having any cardiovascular diseases because it lowers cholesterol level.
  • Ideal food for diabetes patients because it regulates the glucose being transported to your entire body; thus, reducing risks of a sudden increase in blood sugar level.

Insoluble Fibers

Insoluble fibers are ideal for people with constipation because these fibers are used to soften your stool, leading to an easier bowel movement.

It doesn’t absorb water; instead, it attracts water then pushing the body waste down. As the feces accumulate, it puts pressure on your colon to stimulate a bowel movement. It promotes a faster digestion process. Individuals feeling constipated must consume foods rich in insoluble fibers.

We find foods rich in insoluble fibers in leafy vegetables, vegetable skins, fruits, and bran. We may also find them in steamed potatoes, baked whole wheat flour, unripe bananas, and roasted nuts.

It also promotes a type of insulin that lowers the risk of diabetes.

Benefits of insoluble fibers:

  • Insoluble fibers relieve constipation. It breaks down undigested compounds and fastens the digestion process—promoting a healthy bowel movement and preventing any gastrointestinal infections.
  • Insoluble fibers may reduce the risk of hemorrhoids’ and colon cancer.

Sources of fibers on commercialized products

We can find good sources of fibers in fruits and leafy vegetables, but how about commercialized products sold in the supermarket? Could they be a good source of fibers as well?

Some consumer goods in the supermarket are processed to the point that its nutritional values are eliminated. But we still can find processed foods that can provide our daily dietary fiber needs.

We can find that out in the nutritional facts behind the package; enlisted in that section is the dietary fiber per serving.

FDA suggests that the processed goods are considered high fiber if it contains at least twenty percent of the daily recommended allowance per serving.

Dietary Fibers in Food Supplements

The human body does not produce natural fibers that aid digestion, thus, a daily consummation of fruits and vegetables are essential.

According to studies, an average person takes only an estimated 50 percent of the daily recommended allowance of dietary fibers and there are instances that fibers are not taken at all. Nutritionist suggests that an individual should have at least a minimum of 35 grams of intake for men and women at least 25 grams a day.

In many instances that we are incapable or consume less of the daily recommended allowance of dietary fibers, nutritionists say that food supplements are okay. This is to at least meet the daily minimum fibers our body needed.

It’s concentrated with fibers extracted from leafy foods; however, a nutritionist may recommend fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Because we will not only benefit from dietary fibers but also other vitamins and nutrients attached to it.

Before taking any food supplement, it may also be necessary to consult health professionals depending on the product. And also to ask for any food supplements he recommends.

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