Are fiber supplements equivalent to dietary fiber? Are some types of plant fiber better than others? is vegetable fiber the same as fruit fiber? Why is fiber so important for heart health?
In general, I would say that fibre supplements aren't the same as fibre from food given the "packaging" that each comes in. With supplements, you are often getting a more processed item with added sugar/flavour/etc. With food, there are a lot of phytonutrients that come with the fibre.
In general, we divide fibre into soluble and insoluble fibre. The former has been shown to be beneficial in a number of conditions including weight management, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and IBS. The latter helps with regularity and prevents constipation (i.e. forms bulky stools). Fibre-rich foods are also pre-biotics and help to establish healthy flora in your gut.
When it comes to heart health, soluble fibre can help lower cholesterol by:
The type of fibre in fruits and vegetables will vary based on the specific fruit or vegetable, but in general, you will find a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre between fruits and vegetables.
Hope this helps shed some important light on the importance of fibre!
Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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I think all of those fibers mentioned are packed tightly inside my colon and will not come out. I have tried everything. I will try an enema tomorrow if all else fails.
I just came back from a retreat where I accidentally signed up for something that included twice daily enemas (what a surprise this was!). I definitely think that enemas can be helpful for someone struggling with constipation or diverticulitis. However, I would really push insoluble fibre if you struggle more with constipation, along with a high-quality probiotic.
As an aside, the three things that lead to constipation are:
1. Too little water
2. Too little activity
3. Too little fibre (especially insoluble fibre)