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 Dietary Fiber consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants. Nondigestible means that the material is not digested and absorbed in the human small intestine. Dietary fiber occurring in foods and food products can be considered to consist of cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectic substances, hydrocolloids (gums and mucilages), resistant starches, and resistant oligosaccharides.


  • SOLUBLE FIBERS: Soluble fiber is water soluble and well fermented. It dissolves in water to form a gel-like material e.g- pectin, gums, and mucilages. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, barley, and psyllium.


  • INSOLUBLE FIBERS: Insoluble fiber is water-insoluble and less fermented. It promotes the movements of material through the digestive system and increases the stool bulk e.g- cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. Insoluble fiber is found in Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes.




Fibre has been found to exert many physiological benefits. They provide 2kcal/g.


  • Improves large bowel function: Fibers that have high water holding capacity soften stools. Fiber increases faecal bulk, speed faecal passage through the colon and reduces transit time. Thus, it helps in prevention and management of constipation.


  • Modifies blood glucose level: Fibers delay stomach emptying and starch digestion, slow down glucose absorption and hence prevent a quick rise in blood sugar levels after consumption of food, this is useful in the management of diabetes mellitus. Insoluble fiber has little or no effect on blood glucose level. Soluble fiber reduces post prandial glucose levels.


  • Lowers cholesterol in blood : Viscosity is an important property for lowering plasma cholesterol. Fiber can bind bile salts & neutral sterols & enhance excretion, therefore less available for lipid absorption. Insoluble fiber has little or no effect on blood cholesterol level, soluble fiber such as oats, barley, psyllium has the hypocholesterolemic effect.


  • Weight Management: Fiber may help with weight management since it lends bulk to the food. Thus it provides satiety and delay hunger thus good for weight control



  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (2010) has recently recommended an intake of 20g per 100 Kcal. Children should eat less than adults because the bulk and the feeling of fullness that fiber provides could cause their diet to be low in energy.





Dietary fiber tends to cause abdominal discomfort because of flatus formation. It may cause diarrhoea and could temporarily obstruct the GI tract.


  This is Copyright Content by Gadge's Diabetes Care Edited and written by Madiha Khan



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