Dietary Fiber regimen

Fiber is essentially a carbohydrate and is found solely in plants. It is found in the walls of plants cells and is the only part plant which cannot be digested by the human body.

Function of Fiber:

The main function of fiber is to the digestive system healthy and functioning properly. Fiber aids and speeds up the excretion of waste and toxins from the body, preventing from sitting in the intestine or bowels for too long, which could cause build-up and lead to several disease.

Types of Dietary:

Dietary fiber is often categorized into soluble and insoluble, according to its solubility. Both types of Fibers are foind in different proportions in Fiber containing foods.

Insoluble Fiber:

It is found in following food: Been, brown rice, fruits with edible seeds, lentils, maize, oats, pulses, wheat, bran, wholegrain breads, wholegrain cereals, wholemeal breads, wholemeal cereals, wholemeal pasta, whole wheat flour.

Soluble Fiber:

Soluble fiber contains gums and pectin. This type of fiber lowers cholesterol level and controls blood sugar levels. It can be found in all fruits and vegetables, but following are rich sources, apples, barley, citrus, guar gum, legumes, oats, pears, strawberries, lentils, beans, barley, oatmeal, potatoes, dry fruits soya milk and soya products, etc.

The main physiological effects attributed to dietary Fibers concern:

Bowel function

Increasing stool weight and decreasing gut transit time. This effect is enhanced fiber intake is paralleled by water intake. The short chain fatty acids, produced when fiber is fermented by gut bacteria, are the important source of energy, for colon cells and might inhibit growth and proliferation of gut tumour cells. By improving bowel function, dietary fiber can reduce the risk of diseases and disorders such as diverticulum diseases or haemorrhoids, and may also have a protective effect on colon cancer.

Blood Glucose levels

Soluble fiber, may slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and hence lower the rise in blood glucose that follows a meal (postprandial) and insulin response. This can help peoples with diabetes, to improve control of blood glucose levels.

Blood cholesterol

Results of epidemiological studies identity another role for dietary fiber in the prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) that of improving blood lipid profiles. Clinical trial confirms the results of these epidemiological studies. Isolated viscous fibers such as pectin, rice bran or oat bran lower both total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. At the same time, research continue to show that, diets high in a mix. of dietary fiber also protect against CHD.


While prevention of constipation, improved blood levels and blood lipid profile predominance as a beneficial outcomes of a diet in dietary fiber, other benefit are worth nothing. For example, because fiber provides bulk in a diet, without added calories, it can have a satiating effect on appetite; helping in weight management. Soluble fiber decreases the production of cancer creating hormones, which reduces the stimulation of prostate and lowers the PSA levels. Eating a diet that does not contain enough fiber can lead to bowel irregularities and stomach discomforts. Foods that do not contain any or contain very little fiber include refined cereals and white bread, meat and animal products. Dairy produce and fast foods.

How much Fiber :

Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Fiber
Condition Age
(in years)
Fiber requirement
Children 1 – 3 19
4 – 8 25
Males 9 – 13 31
14 – 18 38
19 – 50 38
50 onwards 30
Females 9 – 13 26
14 – 18 26
19 – 50 25
50 onwards 21
Pregnancy < 18 28
>18 28
Lactation < 18 29
>18 29

Quick Facts:

  • Fiber may be beneficial in treating or preventing constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticulosis.
  • Water Soluble fibers help to decrease blood cholesterol levels.
  • Food containing dietary fiber includes fruits, vegetable, nuts and grains.
  • Include a variety of high fiber foods in a diet.
  • Fiber makes you feel fuller, so helps to control your appetite.

AAlthough fiber is important, it is just one part of properly balanced diet. It is possible that too much fiber may reduce the amount of calcium, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium that is absorbed from foods. Deficiency of these nutrients could result if amount of fiber in diet is high, especially in the young children. Fiber supplements are sold in a variety of forms. But it appears that the various types of fibers have different role in the body. Furthermore fiber may interact with prescription medication. For these reasons, avoid fiber supplement. Instead eat a variety of fiber rich foods. This is the best way to receive the maximum benefits from each type of fiber present in foods, and obtain necessary nutrients.


More by :  Dr. Vaibhav Mahadev Mache

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