Insoluble vs Soluble Fiber

Why is a Fiber-Rich Diet so Good for Me

We have all heard the praises for high-fiber diets these days, and for very good reasons. Fiber should be included in the foods you eat each and every day. A great deal of research has been put into learning about dietary fiber, and the results are astounding! A diet rich in fiber can reduce cholesterol, helps manage blood sugar control (think of how good this is for diabetics), and it keeps the colon safe from a myriad of problems, that can include cancer.

Dietary Fiber

Fiber is found in two dietary types: Soluble and Insoluble. Each offers healthy benefits.
Fiber is found in two dietary types: Soluble and Insoluble. Each offers healthy benefits. | Source

Soluble and Insoluble Dietary Fiber

So we know that fiber is a good thing to have in our diet every day. But, did you know there are two types of fiber? The two kinds of fiber are insoluble and soluble fiber, each having their own benefits. Let's take a look at each type to learn what they can bring to your healthy diet.

What is Soluble Fiber

We will find soluble fiber in foods like legumes—beans and peas—some grains, and particularly in oats. It can also be added into process foods as pectin or guar gums. When it is mixed with water, it becomes a gel. We will often find soluble fiber in gluten-free products, as it helps to hold together and thicken food items. Here are two great reasons to keep soluble fiber in your diet:

  1. It helps improve blood sugar management by reducing the speed glucose is absorbed by the body.
  2. Because it interferes with the body's ability to manufacture cholesterol—which lowers cholesterol levels—soluble fiber is a fantastic addition to any diet.

What is Insoluble Fiber

Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber does not dissolve when water is added, but rather absorbs it. The most likely foods to pack a punch of insoluble fiber are your whole grains, wheat bran, and of course vegetables. Insoluble fiber is also a great source of bulk, which assists with bowel evacuations. This fiber has been deeply studied with the results confirming; insoluble fiber is your colons best friend! This kind of dietary fiber may even keep serious life threatening colon problems from occurring, such as:

Diverticulosis (Warning: Internal body images)

Four Life Threatening Conditions Fiber Can Help Prevent or Remedy

  1. Constipation
  2. Diverticulosis1
  3. Hemorrhoids
  4. Colon and rectal cancer

I am sure many health issues are aided by a healthy high-fiber diet. But, the colon and rectal conditions listed above do particularly well with this type of diet. Keeping toxins moving swiftly through the body reduces the quantity of unhealthy elements that the body can absorb. So, when concerns surrounding your colon pop up, a fiber-rich diet is sure to help get things back on the go!

1Many people have small pouches in their colon that bulge outward through weak spots. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Multiple pouches are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis. (As per the National Digestive Diseases Clearing House).

What Can Reduce the Fiber Content in Foods

If you take off the skin (peel) of vegetables and fruits , or when grains are refined by processing, fiber content, of any kind, gets seriously reduced. With this in mind, it is always best to eat whole foods with the peel on, and in their natural state. (i.e., boxed mashed potatoes are not even close to the nutritional or fiber values found in boiled and mashed—with peel on—potatoes at home). Real, non-processed foods hold the greatest value of natural healthy fiber, no matter what the packaging on processed foods may indicate.

How Much Fiber Should I Eat Daily

Eating Enough Daily Fiber

Getting the quota of fiber every single day is a very big challenge for most of us. Eating the amount of fiber that most nutritional experts recommend can seem nearly impossible! But, if you know where to get the highest concentration of fiber from the foods you consume, it can seem less a chore, and far more attainable. The top sources of fiber are Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans. The amount recommended is NO LESS than 25 grams of dietary fiber each and every day.

What Amount of Fiber is considered a Good Source in Foods

  • 2.5 - 4.9 grams is a GOOD source of fiber
  • 5 or greater grams is an EXCELLENT source of fiber

Do Peanuts Have Fiber?

Peanuts have 2 grams of fiber for every 1 oz. of nuts.
Peanuts have 2 grams of fiber for every 1 oz. of nuts. | Source

Measure 1 Ounce of Nuts Without a Scale

  • 1 oz. of Almonds = 20 to 24 nuts
  • 1 oz. of Brazil nuts = 6 to 8 nuts
  • 1 oz. of Cashews = 16 to 18 nuts
  • 1 oz. of Hazel nuts = 18 to 20 nuts
  • 1 oz. of Macadamias = 10 to 12 nuts
  • 1 oz. of Peanuts = 18 to 20 nut halves
  • 1 oz. of Pistachios = 45 to 47 nuts
  • 1 oz. of Walnuts = 8 to 11 nut halves

Nuts and Fiber

How Can High-fat Nuts be So Good For Me

For the longest time we had been told that nuts were packed with fat which caused us to gain huge amounts of weight. Well, the truth is that nuts are recommended as part of a healthy fiber-rich diet. The more resent research shows that we should consume one ounce of nuts every day. An d by doing so, we can reduce our chances of getting diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart disease.

Nuts actually have very little saturated fat, they have no cholesterol, and boost heart-health by providing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. But, as far as the topic of the day goes, nuts provide a darn good source of dietary fiber! Which gives them the added health aspect of making us feel full for a longer period of time. So, go ahead and substitute one ounce of nuts for other snacks, and take advantage of feeling full much longer!

Good Fat or Bad Fat

The Good and Bad of Fat

There are five primary fats that we find in our diets, some are really good for our health, while some should be limited and in some cases, boycotted all together. Which fats you let into your diet is just about as important as how much of each you consume. Every one has their own requirements for optimal health when it comes to fat intake of any kind, and this can only be accurately determined by your doctor or dietary specialist. But, as an average approach to good vs bad fats, here are a few general guidelines to consider:

The Good and Bad of Fat

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Polyunsaturated, Omega-3, and Monounsaturated fats are known to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Any solid type fat has Trans fat, and should be eliminated from diets!Partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated foods of any kind are known to raise levels of cholesterol in the blood.Spray on oils are usually cholesterol-free, and thus have monounsaturated fats, which are good fats.
Polyunsaturated, Omega-3, and Monounsaturated fats are known to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Any solid type fat has Trans fat, and should be eliminated from diets!
Polyunsaturated, Omega-3, and Monounsaturated fats are known to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Any solid type fat has Trans fat, and should be eliminated from diets! | Source
Partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated foods of any kind are known to raise levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated foods of any kind are known to raise levels of cholesterol in the blood. | Source
Spray on oils are usually cholesterol-free, and thus have monounsaturated fats, which are good fats.
Spray on oils are usually cholesterol-free, and thus have monounsaturated fats, which are good fats. | Source
  • Monounsaturated fats (a best selection for health): When used in part with a low-fat diet this type of oil is known to reduce cholesterol levels. You will find them in Canola oil, olive oil, avocado, almonds, olives, peanut oil, cashews, peanuts, pecans, and those tiny little sesame seeds.
  • Omega-3 fats (a best selection for health): This is also called polyunsaturated fat. When used in part with a low-fat diet this type of oil is known to reduce cholesterol levels. You will find them in walnuts, soybean oil, flaxseed, and most abundant in salmon.
  • Polyunsaturated fats (a good selection): When used in part with a low-fat diet this type of oil is known to reduce cholesterol levels. You will find them in Safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and sunflower seeds.

  • Saturated fats (a selection that needs to be limited): Cream, butter, regular cheese, meat fat, whole milk, 2% milk, coconut, palm oil, cocoa butter, and solid shortening.
  • Trans fats (a selection that needs to be avoided all together): This type of fat is made by taking the liquid oil and solidifying it using a process called hydrogenation. Always look for foods that indicate No Trans Fats on the label—especially when purchasing margarine. You will find them in many commercially processed foods, like crackers, cookies, chips, or any foods that have the words "hydrogenated" and "partially hydrogenated" among the ingredients.

Good and Excellent Sources of Dietary Fiber

About the Fiber Sources Chart

Below is a chart that will help you see where to find some good and excellent sources of fiber. You will find a Food Item, Serving Size for that item, and the Fiber (amount) in Grams for the item. Use the chart as a reference guide, but always read the labels on any food packaging, as the actual fiber content can be different from one brand to the other.

Sources of Dietary Fiber Chart

(click column header to sort results)
FOOD ITEM  
SERVING SIZE  
FIBER GRAMS  
CEREALS:
----
----
All-Bran Buds
1/3 cup
13
Bran Flakes
3/4 cup
5
Cheerieos
1 cup
3
Fiber One
1/2 cup
14
Frosted Mini-Wheats
1 cup
6
Fruit & Fiber
1 cup
5
Oatbran
1-1/4 cups cooked
6
Oatmeal
1 cup cooked
4
oatmeal, instant
1 envelope
3
Raisin Bran
1 cup
7
Shredded Wheat
2 sections
5
Total, whole grain
3/4 cup
3
Wheaties
1 cup
3
DRIED BEANS & LEGUMES:
SERVING SIZE
FIBER GRAMS
Black Beans
1/2 cup
8
Garbanzo, (chick peas)
1/2 cup
6
Kidney Beans
1/2 cup
6
Lentils
1/2 cup
8
Lima Beans
1/2 cup
6
Pinto Beans
1/2 cup
7
Peas
1/2 cup
4
Refried (fat-free) Beans
1/2 cup
6
Split Peas
1/2 cup
8
FRUITS:
SERVING SIZE
FIBER GRAMS
Apple, with skin
1 medium
4
Apricots
5
4
*Avocado
1 medium
9
Bannana
1 medium
3
Blueberries
1 cup
4
Cherries
1 cup
3
Grapefruit
1 medium
3
Grapes, seedless
1 cup
2
Kiwi
1 medium
3
Nectarine
1 medium
2
Orange
1 medium
3
Peach
1 medium
2
Pear
1 medium
4
Pineapple
1 cup
2
Plums
2
2
Prunes, dried
5
3
Raisins
1/4 cup
2
Raspberries
1 cup
8
Strawberries
1 cup
3
GRAINS, PASTA, & RICE:
SERVING SIZE
FIBER GRAMS
Whole-wheat English Muffin
1
4
Whole-grain Bread
1 oz
3
Brown rice
1/2 cup
2
Barley
1/2 cup
3
Bulgur
1/2 cup
4
Spaghetti noodles
1 cup, cooked
2
Popcorn
3 cups, popped
3
*NUTS / SEEDS, dry roasted:
SERVING SIZE
FIBER GRAMS
Almonds
24 nuts (1 oz)
3
Cashews
18 nuts (1 oz)
1
Filberts (hazelnuts)
20 nuts
3
Flaxseeds
1 tablespoon
3
Peanuts
28 nuts (1 oz)
2
Peanut butter
2 tablespoons
2
Pistachios
47 nuts (1 oz)
3
Soy Nuts
1/4 cup (1-1/2 oz)
3
Sunflower Seeds
Kernels, (1 oz)
3
Walnuts
14 halves (1 oz)
2
VEGETABLES:
SERVING SIZE
FIBER GRAMS
Asparagus
1 cup, cooked
3
Beets
1/2 cup, cooked
2
Broccoli
1/2 cup, cooked
3
Brussels Sprouts
1/2 cup, cooked
2
Cauliflower
1/2 cup, cooked
2
Cabbage
1/2 cup, cooked
2
Carrots
1/2 cup, cooked
3
Corn
1/2 cup, cooked
2
Cucumber (with peel)
1 medium
2
Eggplant
1 cup, cooked
3
Green Beans
1/2 cup, cooked
2
Bell Pepper
1 medium, raw
2
Potato (with skin)
1 medium
4
Snow Peas
1 cup, raw
2
Spinach
1/2 cup, cooked
2
Summer Squash
1 cup, cooked
3
Sweet Potato
1/2 cup, cooked
3
Winter Squash
1/2 cup, cooked
3
*Even though these are a high fat food, the type of fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated; considered to be healthy fats. (Information derived from B.J.Ponichtera, Registered Dietitian)

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Do you feel you are getting enough fiber in your daily diet?

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Comments for "Insoluble vs Soluble Fiber" 22 comments

ithabise profile image

ithabise 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

Great information...I was just about to write about! ;) You've covered it well.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

missolive~ So pleased that you find the research presented here up to your high standards. When it comes to health, fiber is king! A little know how on how to getting fiber into our diet can make all of the difference. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts here, ma'am.

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Cara~ So glad you like the chart...as you can imagine, it took forever to complete! But, it has a ton of great fiber reference information for readers, which makes it worth every minute. Honored to have your support!

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Teresa~ I am big oatmeal fan as well! I just love eating it on a cold winter evening for dinner! Thanks for stopping by! --hubhugs--

Howdy Gus~ Nice to see you in the hubhood! Thanks for all the great peanut info! --hubhugs--


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

k9, EXCELLENT amount of information and lots to read and learn. Thanks for including all of the useful tables and measurements - very valuable. Fiber is definitely important and you have provided a comprehensive hub. By the way, I LOVE almonds and I do look for fiber grams when I read labels.

Thanks for sharing your research


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan

This is a really important, fact (and fiber!) filled hub. The chart you provided is really an important resource. I thought that I knew a lot about healthy eating in my younger, early adult days but when my husband was diagnosed early in our marriage with diabetes and then had a heart attack a couple of years ago I learned so much more, including the importance of fiber and good/bad fats. I'm hoping that my children will already be equipped with this knowledge when they become adults. Thanks for the great hub!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 4 years ago from USA

Howdy K9K - This is a nice fiber-packed article. Good info and all very useful stuff for everyone to know.

Having seen that part of the article that spoke of peanuts, I'd like you to know (if you did not already know) of a pretty good source of shell-free,skin-free, salt-free, roasted peanuts. I ordered 2 packs of the things and got 5 packs (3/4 of a pound each) from Puritan.com. Cost about 10 bucks for the lot (included shipping) . I use them to make my own peanut butter - grind them up in a blender kind of gadget and add about a spoonful of olive oil per cup of the ground nuts. The only ones I found in the grocery store were salted, so I got these.

Gus :-)))


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Extremely informative hub Indie. Loved the fact that oatmeal is a great source of fibre as I love eating it as well as my fruits and veggies. I feel much better about adding nuts to my diet after reading this article. Almonds have been a craving of mine lately! Voted up and shared.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

theclevercat~I do remember those Weight Watchers bran crusts...I haven't see them around lately though. Thanks for stopping by Rachel, and reading about how fiber can keep us all on the "go"! ;)

HubHugs~


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Jeepers, this stuff will definitely keep things "moving along" as you mention. Lol.

Great hub, and very informative. Remember those Weight Watchers pie crusts made with Bran Buds? I wonder if anyone still makes those. Voted up and useful!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Nell~ Thanks for stopping by! So glad you found a thing or two you didn't know about fiber! Always a joy to see you in the HubHood!

Hubhugs~


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

What a great hub. All the things I didn't know about fiber, and how importnnt it is, thanks for sharing! nell


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Sunshine625~ I am too! Fiber is my highest dietary priority. Flaxseed--ground or otherwise--has a frequent place in my daily food choices. I even use it ground up in fruit smoothies and fresh squeezed vegetable juices! I sure appreciate that you made it by today, Linda. Always makes me smile.

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Daisy~ Thanks! My hope was to offer a little insight into an important dietary element we often hear so much about, but neglect to actually discover. Very nice to see you here today my friend!

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Sally's Trove~ Thanks so much for the warm remarks. I have the same exact memory of my mom! I still eat as much of the potato skin as I can. And yes, butter and salt do unfortunately play a role to this day! ;) Thanks for stopping by and bringing me a memory that is most smile worthy!

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

tillsontitan~ I hope your husband finds the information inspiring enough to eat more fiber. The human colon is so easily attacked by bad things that, keeping everything moving in quick time (by eating fiber) can reduce just how much of the toxic junk gets absorbed. I wish you the best.

Thank you for your comments and voting support!

Cheers~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

strkngfang~ General Mills, who makes Chex cereals, does not add gluten to their Chex recipes. So these are a good choice for those who struggle with gluten issues. Also, Nature's Path is a specialty brand that makes gluten free cereals as well. And for the kids (and us adults who are really just big kids) Post has revised their recipe for Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles in response to health concerns surrounding gluten. So they too are a good gluten-free cereal (it has been reduced, but still has 9 grams of sugar per serving--which is a good deal better than before).

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here and for the votes!

Cheers~


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I love me some fiber!! Having a family history of colon cancer I learned early on how vital fiber is. I'm a Ground Flax Seed nut! I sprinkle it on everything...even pizza. Great and useful hub India!!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

India,

Until you published your article, I think that many people who *heard about* fiber probably didn't understand what it was.

Thanks for educating a lot of readers today.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Excellent information presented in a very readable format. Your discussion of potatoes made me smile--whenever my mother baked potatoes, she always insisted we eat the skins because they were the "healthiest part" of the potato. Those days were long before dietary fiber became a common household term. Of course, then, we slathered the empty skins with butter and dosed them with extra salt. Well, at least we were getting good fiber! Up, interesting, useful. :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I really want my husband to read this hub! You've outlined why he needs fiber beautifully. The best part is it wouldn't be just me lecturing him but someone else honestly pointing out this vital need.

This is a great, really helpful hub!

Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing!


strkngfang profile image

strkngfang 4 years ago

Excellent and interesting hub. I am gluten intolerant so a lot of the fiber high cereals are out for me so I have to resort to a fiber supplement. I used to love FIBER ONE until I learned all of the "junk" that was in it, but it was extremely high in fiber. Voted up!!

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