Fiber Facts – Information About Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

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I can’t say enough about the importance of fiber! Have you ever cooked with an iron skillet? (If you are my age, you have, if you are younger, perhaps you’ve seen your grandmother use one.) After you are done cooking your meal, what do you find stuck to the inside of the skillet? Grease, lard, oil, FAT! The only way to clean the fat off the skillet is to use lots of water, strong soap to break up the grease, and a Brillo Pad to scrub it clean, right? Now, think of your intestines as your skillet and the fat lining the skillet as, well, the fat lining your intestines! I’m sure you are thinking to yourself, “Better to line my intestines than to line my thighs!” Well, if you don’t eat your fiber, that’s exactly where the fat will end up, on your thighs, butt and belly.

Did you know that the lining of your intestines is where your nutrients are absorbed? So, if your intestines are lined with fat, what will be absorbed? Yes, FAT, resulting in larger love handles, saddle bags and higher LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) levels. Not to mention, the important nutrients you want to be absorbed, protein, vitamins, minerals can’t get absorbed because they are blocked by the fat! The only way to scrub your intestines clean of this fat is through a fiber-rich diet.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber is the food you eat that your body can’t process nor break down, like the husk on corn bran and flax seeds. This type of fiber is the Brillo Pad that, when combined with water, will wipe the intestine clean and speed up transport time (of “you-know-what”) through the colon. The second type of fiber, soluble fiber, is most commonly found in oats, barley, and citrus fruits. Like soap, the molecular structure of soluble fiber causes a chemical reaction in the intestines. The soluble fiber breaks down to provide fuel for microorganisms living in the intestines and colon. I know that sounds disgusting, but this bacteria is important to the heath of your gastrointestinal system; they attack wastes that are potentially toxic when allowed to accumulate in the colon. For this reason, it is the soluble fiber that is important in the protection against colorectal cancer, diverticulitis, stabilization of blood sugar and insulin levels (especially important for diabetics) and inhibition of hepatic (liver) cholesterol synthesis.

Some great sources of fiber include:

FoodServing SizeInsoluble (g)Soluble (g)Total Fiber
100% Bran Cereal½ cup9.60.310g
Psyllium Husk10g0.97.18.0g
Rolled Oats¾ cup (cooked)1.71.33.0g
Whole Grain Bread1 slice2.80.082.9g
Apple1 small1.62.23.9g
Blackberries½ cup37.03.7g
Pear1 small1.90.062.5g
Parsnips½ cup cooked40.044.4g
Peas½ cup cooked3.225.2g
Potatoes1 small1.62.23.8g
Kidney Beans½ cup cooked40.54.5g
Lentils2/3 cup cooked3.90.64.5g
White Beans½ cup cooked3.80.44.2g
Broccoli1 stalk1.41.32.7g
Carrots1 large1.61.32.9g

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About Author

Sandra Augustin

I am a 20-year veteran of the fitness industry. I am a master trainer for 24 Hour Fitness and a MET-Rx sponsored fitness competitor. I instruct continuing education fitness classes for other 24 Hour Fitness group exercise instructors. See my profile page for more information!

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