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Fiber Supplementation


Different Types of Fibers


You may be familiar with the terms "soluble fiber" and "insoluble fiber," but within each category there are many different fibers. Soluble fibers bind with fatty acids and slow digestion so blood sugars are released more slowly into the body. These fibers help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Insoluble fibers help hydrate and move waste through the intestines and control the pH levels in the intestines. These fibers help prevent constipation and keep you regular.


Most Americans get both types of fiber from two sources: Their diet and added “functional” fiber. Dietary fibers are found naturally in the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains that we eat. Functional fiber, a growing trend in the food industry, is fiber that has been isolated and extracted from plants or animal sources and added to drinks and food products to boost their fiber content. Both sources offer the same health benefits.


Most nutritionists encourage getting fiber from whole foods that we eat because they contain many other healthful plant compounds. But if you don’t get enough fiber in your diet — 25 to 38 grams a day is ideal — added functional fibers can help fill in the gap.


Eating a wide variety of fibers is the ideal solution to gaining all the health benefits. Listed below shows the most types of dietary and functional fibers, where they come from, and how they benefit health.


Here are some types of Insoluble fibers:


1.  Cellulose, some hemicellulose – Naturally found in nuts, whole wheat, whole grains, bran, seeds, edible brown rice and in skins of produce.  This are health because they are "Nature's laxative".  They will reduce constipation, lower risks of diverticulitis and can help with weight loss.


2.  Lignin – Naturally found in flax, rye and some vegetables.  This are health because they help with your immune function.  Use caution if celiac or gluten intolerant.


Here are some types of Soluble fibers:


1.  Inulin oligofrutose – Extracted from onions and byproduct of sugar production from beets or chicory root.  Added to processed foods to increase fiber.  This may increase beneficial bacteria in the gut and enhance immune function.


2.  Mucilage, beta-glucans – Naturally found in oats, oat bran, beans, peas, barley, flaxseed, berries, soybeans, bananas, oranges, apples and carrots.  This will help lower bad LDL cholesterol, reduce risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Use caution if celiac or gluten intolerant.


3.  Pectin and gums – Naturally found in fruits, berries and seeds.  Also can be extracted from citrus peel and other plants boost fiber in processed foods.  This slow the passage of food through the intestinal GI tract and help lower blood cholesterol.


4.  Polydextrose polyols – Added to processed foods as a bulking agent and sugar substitute.  Made from dextrose, sorbitol and citric acid.  This will add bulk to stools and help prevent constipation but may cause gas and/or bloating.


5.  Psyllium – Extracted from rushed seeds or husks of plantago ovata plant.  Used in supplements, fiber, drinks and added to foods.  This will help lower cholesterol and prevent constipation.


6.  Resistant Starch – Starch in plant cell walls naturally found in unripened bananas, oatmeal and legumes.  Also extracted and added to processed foods to increase fiber.  This will help weight management by increasing fullness.


7.  Wheat dextrin – Extracted from wheat starch and widely used to add fiber in processed foods.  This helps lower choleterol (LDL and total cholesterol) and reduces risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Avoid if celiac or gluten intolerant.