Fiber Foods: Soluble vs Insoluble

Fiber spelled out using food

You want to go number 2 and you automatically think about fiber. But did you know that fiber can also help with NOT going number 3? How does that work? AND did you know that fiber plays the role of lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, aids in weight loss, binds to toxins that we need to eliminate, and feeds our gut flora! Holy date balls and prune juice! Fiber can do all that!? Sure can and here's how:

First, fiber is simply the part of food that isn't digested or broken down like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are. It's a substance that stays in the gut and you essentially poop it out. But here's the thing, it's hugely important not only in the role of digestions but also in the role of binding excess cholesterol, sugars, and even toxins. This is important because the fiber can prevent these things from entering back into our blood stream which is why it's so important to be able to stool daily. "Better out than in", right?

Soluble fiber is the fiber that basically attracts water which is why it's soluble. By attracting water, it can bulk up making us feel full thus preventing overeating. It also helps to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and fats. This slower absorption rate can in turn prevent spikes in blood sugar. It will also bind to the excess fats and thus helps to lower cholesterol. Finally, when you have "watery" diarrhea, the soluble fiber can really help bulk up your stool by attracting the water component that's causing the frustration of loose stool. *lack of fiber isn't the only cause of diarrhea but can certainly help.

Insoluble fiber is the fiber that doesn't attract water but keeps the bowel moving this preventing constipation. This can help to explain why those who tend more towards diarrhea might have a harder time eating fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in insoluble fiber. But also, if you are clogged...go to town on more vegetables and maybe add an extra serving of fruit. I say this because fruit is higher in fructose and most of the population has either diabetes or wants to loose weight.

Fiber can also feed are lovely gut bacteria but fructans and cellulose are two fibers not mentioned in this article that are the rock stars of that show.

Bottom line and like my professor always said, "EAT YOUR VEGETABLES! THEY WILL SAVE YOU!"

Dr. Lexi

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