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Vegetables, An Excellent Source Of Fiber Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber is basically indigestible plant matter.  It is closely related to carbohydrates because its structure, similar to those of starches, is made up of glucose molecules.  However, because we lack the enzymes to properly digest it, it provides almost no calories. 

The two main types of fiber are soluble, and insoluble.  Soluble fiber is dissolved but is not absorbed.  It includes gums and pectin, and can be found in foods such as oat bran, barley, legumes, and many fruits and vegetables.  Soluble fiber is known primarily for reducing blood cholesterol by blocking its reabsorption.   It also slows the absorption of sugars by delaying gastric emptying.  Slowing the absorption of sugars is excellent for preventing large fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin response.

Insoluble fiber is neither dissolved in any appreciable amount nor absorbed by the body.  It includes lignin and cellulose, and is found in vegetables along with wheat and many other grains.  It increases fecal bulk which gives it a laxative effect.  This reduces contact of the intestines with carcinogens, along with reducing the risk of constipation and diverticulitis.  Both types of dietary fiber will increase the volume of food without adding calories.  This makes fiber very useful for assisting fat loss.

Although some dietary fiber is good, too much of a good thing can be bad.  Too much dietary fiber can block the absorption of minerals and other vital nutrients.  In addition, it can cause diarrhea, bloating, and other gastro intestinal distresses.  A good amount is about 10 to 13 grams per 1000 calories.  Ideally, we should try to eat both types of dietary fiber from a variety of sources such as those on the Healthy Foods List.  All plant sources of carbohydrates contain dietary fiber however, the sources listed as extra fiber on the Healthy Foods List had caloric densities that were too low to be significant.

Find foods that are high in fiber per given weight.
Find foods that are high in fiber per Calorie.


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