Dietary fiber is the portion of plant foods that your body can’t digest. Fiber is a type of healthy carbohydrate, also known as complex carbohydrates. Because it’s unable to be digested, insoluble and soluble fiber both provide many health benefits as they move through your GI tract. Below is a breakdown of the difference between the two.
Insoluble fiber forms the structure of plants. When you eat insoluble fiber, it does not dissolve in water and can’t be digested by intestinal bacteria. Therefore, it speeds up the flow of waste materials through your digestive system. This helps to prevent and reduce constipation.
For example, you can find insoluble fiber in foods like wheat bran, nuts, fruit skins, and many vegetables. Whole grains like whole wheat bread and brown rice also contain high amounts of insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is found in and around plant cells. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. Therefore, it slows the absorption of nutrients from your digestive system and attracts water. This prevents and reduces constipation, helps to control blood sugar, and reduces cholesterol in the blood.
For example, soluble fiber is found in foods like beans, oats, fruits, vegetables, jams, jellies, pectin, and gums.