The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University really knows how to break down fiber from indigestible terminology: puns intended.
It’s not surprising. Since 1996, this research institute has investigated “the function and role of micronutrients, phytochemicals, and other constituents of food in maintaining human health and preventing and treating disease.” And fiber is definitely an important constituent of food.
From a plant-based-fiber example, cellulose comes from the walls of plant cells that enzymes in the human body cannot break down. Instead, cellulose remains undigested in the small intestine and arrives much the same in the large intestine. That’s the basics of this vital insoluble fiber.
The Linus Pauling Institute has further classified fiber into four categories, going much deeper into the insoluble and soluble.
Viscous/Gel Forming, Readily Fermented Fibers
This type of soluble fiber can be found in Fit ’n Fiber from acacia, konjac glucomannan and guar gum fibers. The combined qualities of being soluble fiber that becomes gel-like and ferments provide a number of healthy benefits that include helping to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol and stimulating the growth and function of good bacteria in the gut. The Linus Pauling Institute also notes that the fermentation of fiber roughly contributes up to 10% of daily energy intake.
Viscous/Gel Forming, Nonfermented Fibers
Dissolving in water, forming viscous gels and resisting fermentation makes psyllium a primary fiber ingredient in Herbal Fiberblend and an effective addition to the mix in Fit ’n Fiber. As a water-soluble fiber, psyllium helps to maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Given that it doesn’t ferment, psyllium retains its ability to hold water and be gel-like, so it normalizes the consistency of stools for regular bowel movements.
Nonviscous, Readily Fermented Fibers
Fiber that does not become gel-like when it dissolves in water but ferments in the large intestine is yet another type of beneficial soluble fiber, which includes resistant starches from foods such as beans, lentils, peas and oats. Although starch is a digestible carbohydrate that breaks down into glucose, resistant starches literally resist being digested, so they do not raise blood sugar levels: an important plant-based benefit.
Poorly Fermented Fibers
This category brings us back to the example of plant cell walls—cellulose—for fiber that does not dissolve in water, so it does not trap water or ferment well. These insoluble qualities make it the “scrub brush” of fibers that scour their way through the digestive tract, rubbing the walls of the large intestine in a cleansing way and triggering the release of mucus and water that increases stool softness: an essential laxative effect. The plant-based fiber ingredients in both Herbal Fiberblend and Fit ’n Fiber provide sources of insoluble fiber.
Virtually visit the Linus Pauling Institute for a great source of detailed information that moves even further beyond classified fiber.