Is dietary fiber made up of soluble or insoluble fiber?
One of the biggest changes in the health space in the twenty-first century is that we are much more aware of what we put into our bodies. Back in the sixties or seventies, we were much more concerned with convenience. Processed, added MSG, freeze-dried, chemical flavorings and the like all made their way into how our food was made or prepared and we loved it. The change these days is that people are more aware of what goes into their bodies and whether something is natural, organic, processed, free-range or rich in this mineral or that vitamin.
In that vein, the question arises as well as to whether dietary fiber contains chemicals and the question that we will be looking at today: whether it is soluble or insoluble fiber that makes up our supplements?
What is the difference between soluble or insoluble fiber?
Literally as the title would suggest, soluble fiber is fiber that dissolves when placed in water and insoluble fiber does not. It doesn’t mean that insoluble fiber has no interaction with water, it just means that it doesn’t dissolve completely, but rather absorbs some of the water that it is mixed with and then bulks up in size.
So which one is good for us and which one is bad?
Both. Yup, both types of fiber are needed in the body although most of us get more insoluble fiber than soluble fiber by about a measure of three to one. But they bring different benefits to the body. Insoluble fiber is the one that works more to cleaning out the body, moving through the small intestine while solving any blockage issues and removing any toxins.
Soluble fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol and even assist with blood sugar regulation, a benefit that is very useful for someone living with diabetes.
Do dietary fiber supplements contain soluble or insoluble fiber?
You are in luck! Depending on the supplement, dietary fiber brands often contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. If you are looking for a fiber supplement that is pure psyllium husk, it is going to be more on the side of soluble fiber that is doing the magic for you.
On the other hand, you might also prefer a dietary fiber that contains some other ingredients that provide insoluble fiber such as lentils, bran and flax seed.
What are the sources of either soluble or insoluble fiber?
Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as (amongst others):
- Psyllium Husk
- Flax Seed
- Brown Rice
- Beans (Specifically Kidney and Lima Beans)
- Brussels Sprouts
Soluble fiber is found in larger quantities in foods such as (amongst others):
- Beans (such as Broad beans)
- Shredded Wheat
The brand of dietary fiber that you select will depend on the results you are trying to achieve and using that to determine whether you want more soluble or insoluble fiber in your supplement. Ultimately both are good for you, most sources of fiber contain some of both, and ultimately you can’t go wrong. Does your dietary fiber supplement contain more soluble or insoluble fiber?