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Unlocking the Power of Fiber: How Different Types Benefit Your Health and Well-Being

What is fiber?

Fiber, found in plant foods, is a carbohydrate that cannot be fully broken down or absorbed within the body. Unlike other nutrients, fiber remains undigested as it moves through our digestive system, providing a host of essential benefits. There are two major types of dietary fiber, including soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Fiber offers numerous health benefits such as aiding digestion, helping manage weight, supporting heart health, and balancing blood sugar. 

Types of Fiber

There are two types of fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance in the intestines. This gel-like substance decreases the absorption of fats and cholesterol, prevents large spikes in blood sugar, and can feed good bacteria in the gut through fermentation. Some foods high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, apples, kidney beans, and pears. 

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. This fiber helps to add bulk, which promotes regularity and helps prevent constipation. Examples of foods with insoluble fiber include nuts, beans, and vegetables. 

Benefits of Fiber

  • Digestion: One of the primary benefits of fiber lies in its ability to promote digestive health. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance that slows down digestion. This, in turn, helps regulate bowel movements and alleviates issues like constipation. On the other hand, insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, facilitating its movement through the digestive tract and preventing constipation. Both types work together to support a balanced and efficient digestive system. By incorporating fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet, you can experience improved digestion and overall well-being.
  • Weight Management: For those working on managing your weight, fiber can be a powerful tool. High-fiber foods keep you feeling full for longer, reducing overall calorie intake. Moreover, since fiber slows down digestion, it can also help control blood sugar levels, preventing sudden spikes and crashes that may lead to overeating. Additionally, fiber-rich foods tend to be lower in calories which can help when it comes to balancing out more calorie-dense foods. 
  • Heart Health: Maintaining a healthy heart is crucial for overall well-being, and fiber plays a significant role in achieving this. Several studies have linked a high-fiber diet with a reduced risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol levels (commonly known as bad cholesterol) by binding to cholesterol particles and promoting their excretion from the body. Additionally, fiber aids in managing blood pressure levels, further supporting heart health.
  • Blood sugar control: Fiber's role in stabilizing blood sugar makes it an essential component of a balanced and health-conscious diet, especially for those with diabetes or prediabetes. As fiber slows down the absorption of sugar, it helps prevent rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, contributing to better glycemic control and preventing sudden spikes and crashes. This steadying effect helps individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition to manage their blood sugar levels more effectively. By including fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet, you can achieve better glycemic control and reduce the risk of complications associated with fluctuating blood sugar levels. 


Our genetic code affects how we process fiber and the impact it has on our bodies. By now you probably realize that high fiber intake is a good recommendation for practically everyone. However, depending on your genetics it can be more imperative for some to have adequate daily fiber intake to improve blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of obesity. There are differences in our genetics that place us at higher health risks when fiber intake is low. Using the knowledge about our genetics to tailor the amount of fiber we consume can be a very powerful tool to stay healthy.

Fiber sources

  • Food sources: Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Natural sources of fiber are called dietary fibers. Fiber may also be isolated and added to foods when processed. These are called functional fibers. Functional fibers are added to foods that may not naturally contain fiber, such as baked goods, fruit spreads, candies, and even some beverages.   
  • Supplements/Powder: Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. High-fiber diets have been linked to health benefits such as improved metabolism and heart health. However, as little as 5% of the U.S. population consumes the recommended level of fiber. Fiber supplementation could help fill this gap, but the health effects of purified fiber supplements haven’t been well studied.

Incorporating fiber into your eating pattern has numerous proven benefits from supporting digestion, weight management, heart health, and blood sugar control. Including fiber-filled foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts in your meals and snacks will have a major impact on your health. 

When including more fiber in your diet it is important to gradually increase your intake since it can cause bloating or excess gas if done too quickly. 

What’s Next?

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