Fiber, sometimes called roughage, is an important nutrient for the body. It is basically the plant cell wall, which forms a very crucial element of our diets. This is because food rich in fiber takes longer time to digest, thereby resulting in the feeling of fullness and satiety for prolonged period. Moreover, the gradual absorption results in slower release of glucose in the bloodstream. This results in prevention of large blood glucose or insulin spikes. In effect, a daily intake of fiber is recommended to keep the body and the system healthy.
Fiber forms the indigestible part of the plant food that helps in pushing the food through the digestive system. It absorbs water and facilitates in easy defecation. Dietary fiber comes in two forms - soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. The fiber intake in our diet should include a perfect blend of both the types of fiber. This is because each one of them has a significant role to play in the growth and development of the body. However, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber differ from each other significantly. We bring you the differences between the two types of fiber in the below lines.
Soluble Fiber Vs Insoluble Fiber
- As the name indicates, soluble fiber is soluble in water, whereas insoluble fiber is not. However, soluble fiber, like insoluble fiber, is not digested by the body. Like insoluble fiber, soluble fiber changes as it passes through the digestive tract. The change is brought out by the bacteria present in the digestive tract.
- On the absorption of water, soluble fiber swells to form a gel-like substance, whereas insoluble fiber does not get affected by it and continues to retain its shape and form.
- Soluble fiber has benefits like moderating blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol. It, therefore, plays an integral role in reducing the risk of heart diseases. It is also highly beneficial for people suffering from diabetes. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, enhances intestinal health, including a reduction in the risk and occurrence of colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, and constipation.
- Soluble fiber binds with fatty acids and extends the stomach emptying time. It does so in order to facilitate the release and absorption of sugar in a slower process. On the other hand, insoluble fiber contributes to the controlling and balancing of the pH in the intestines. It helps move the bulk in the intestines.
- The scientific names for soluble fiber include pectins, gums and mucilages, whereas the scientific names for insoluble fiber include cellulose, lignins, etc.
- The vital sources of soluble fiber are oats, oatmeal, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), barley, fruits like bananas, berries, apples and pears , root vegetables like onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes and some other vegetables (especially broccoli and carrots). On the other hand, the insoluble fibers are found in large quantities in flax seed, lignans, potato skins, whole grains, corn barn, wheat, and vegetables like cauliflower, nopal, celery, zucchini and green beans.