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Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Prediabetes: Soluble And Insoluble Fiber. Why You Need to Eat Both.

A lot of ladies don’t know this but there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. And do you want to know what?

One type of fiber is awesome for your blood sugar control. The other type won’t help you control your blood sugar at all...but it helps prevent cancer.

That's why you have to eat both kinds of fiber! 

More...

Learn all about Soluble and Insoluble Fiber in today's blog post...

...AND how you can eat lots of both by simply doing one thing.

What is Fiber?

Now, before we get into talking about Soluble and Insoluble Fiber, I want to make sure you all understand what fiber is...

...AND how to identify fiber on a nutrition facts label.

So let's first talk about what fiber is.

Fiber is the part of the plant that you can't totally digest...but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention to it!

Fiber is SUPER important for your overall health.

Why? Because it helps prevent colon cancer AND improves your blood sugar control (more on that later).

Fiber is found in ALL natural plant foods. These natural plant foods are sometimes called whole plant foods. (That just means the food has not been processed.)

You'll Find fiber in ALL Whole Plants Foods:

  • Whole fruits, like nature made them (not fruit juice)
  • Berries
  • Veggies
  • Whole grains (these are grains that are NOT refined or processed)
  • Whole nuts and seeds
  • Potatoes and other starchy tubers (NOT French fries or potato chips)
  • Squashes
  • Beans
  • Lentils

ALL unrefined, unprocessed plants are totally full of fiber!

On the other hand...refined and processed plants usually have NO fiber.


I'm talking about things like white bread, white flour, potato chips, refined sugar, cookies, crackers, donuts, bagels, pizza crust, French fries and things like crunchy snack foods.


There are two types of fiber that you'll find in whole plant foods: Soluble and Insoluble Fiber. I'll explain the difference between these two types of fiber in a moment.

But first we need to talk about the Nutrition Facts label.

How Do You Know If a Food Has Any Fiber?

If you've ever looked at a Nutrition Facts label, you've likely seen Dietary Fiber listed on the label. That's a very important bit of info on that label.

Why? Because, if you're serious about improving your health and reversing your blood sugar issues, you HAVE TO eat more Dietary Fiber everyday!

So each time you buy food, look at the Nutrition Facts label for Dietary Fiber.

Look right underneath the TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES line to see if your food has any Dietary Fiber.

Even is there is no Dietary Fiber in what you're thinking of buying, "Dietary Fiber" still has to be listed...but it will say zero grams.

Here's an example for you. Look at the Nutrition Facts label below for my Oatmeal Muesli Cereal. You'll see it has 10 grams of Dietary Fiber.

Nutrition Facts With Fiber

Do you wanna know what foods have NO fiber at all?

(like not even a teenie-weenie bit)

Meat, eggs and dairy have NO fiber.

You'll have a heck of a time controlling your blood sugar if you eat no fiber. You'll also increase your chances of getting cancer, heart disease and many other terrible chronic diseases.

Want to live longer? Eat more fiber!

“Essentially, we found that those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber actually had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up. That is, they were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability.”

Association Between Carbohydrate Nutrition and Successful Aging Over 10 YearsThe Journals of Gerontology April 2016

Insoluble Fiber Helps You Have Wonderful Bowel Movements and More!

So, I mentioned that there actually two types of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble Fiber.

Let's first talk about INSOLUBLE fiber because it's just what the doctor ordered when frequent constipation is your reality.

And hey...no one wants to strain or have a terrible time in the bathroom.

2 to 3 bowel movements a day is NORMAL. If you don’t have AT LEAST one bowel movement a day, you're constipated.

Woman Happy Poop

Insoluble fiber doesn’t get digested much AND it basically comes out the other end looking pretty much the same way it did when you ate it. This is really good, by the way.

Why?

Because INSOLUBLE fiber, with all its undigestible parts, helps you avoid constipation.

AND avoiding constipation is SUPER important because that's the best way to help prevent colon cancer!

Whole Grains

One example of insoluble fiber is bran from whole grains. 

Bran is the outer layer of skin that is on all whole grains.

White Buns Thumbs Down

Refined grains, on the other hand, have no bran left because it's been removed in a factory.

Refined grains are:

  • Processed, so the bran is removed (not good)
  • Void of fiber (not good)
  • Terrible for your bowel movements
  • Not good for your blood sugar control

But whole grains are a totally different story. The bran is left on all whole grains, which is why they are high in insoluble fiber.

Great sources of INSOLUBLE fiber:

  • Whole grain breads (whole wheat is NOT whole grain)
  • Brown rice and other whole grain rice (black, red, wild)
  • Whole grain barley, sorghum, spelt, corn and kamut
  • Oat bran
  • Vegetables, with the skin
  • Root veggies, with the skin (baby potatoes are super yummy!)
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Fruit with the skin (apples, plums, pears, grapes, etc.)
  • Berries with the seeds and skin (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • Seeds (flax meal, chia, sesame, teff, quinoa)
  • Whole nuts
  • Mushrooms

And no, you don't need to be concerned about the carbs in whole grains.

1/2 cup serving or 1to 2 slices of whole grain bread is totally acceptable and will not affect your blood sugar much, if any.

Now, I think helping to prevent colon cancer would be enough to make you want to eat lots of INSOLUBLE fiber!

But the benefits of INSOLUBLE FIBER don't stop there!

INSOLUBLE FIBER also:

  • Helps safely remove sickness-causing toxins that are in your colon 
  • Helps to maintain a healthy pH balance in your intestines (helps to keep you healthy and not get sick)
  • Helps you feel full so you don't eat too much
  • Acts as a prebiotic and food source for good gut microbes
  • Helps to increase how sensitive you are to insulin
  • Helps improve hemorrhoid-related issues and the ability to control your bowels
  • Helps your gut microbes make Short Chain Fatty Acids, which fight inflammation in your colon and the rest of your body

Wow, all these things sound wonderful! I think it's time to have a piece of whole grain toast with some chia jam!

Soluble Fiber Is the Key to Better Blood Sugar Control

So...now we know that we need to eat INSOLUBLE fiber if we want to have a healthy colon and have an easy time in the bathroom.

But what about getting better blood sugar control?

Well, better blood sugar control is where SOLUBLE FIBER really shines!

Here's how SOLUBLE FIBER helps to control your blood sugar:

  1. SOLUBLE fiber absorbs water in your stomach and intestines.
  2. All this water and SOLUBLE fiber makes a big gloopy mass of gel that slows down your digestion to a snail's pace. 
  3. Slow digestion means you don't get a whole bunch of glucose sent into your blood stream all at once...which means your blood sugar doesn’t go up very much. 
  4. Slow digestion also means you don't need to release very much insulin.
  5. The result is that your blood sugar remains stable and you have energy all day long! (Super, super good!)
Healthy Blood Sugar

Great sources of SOLUBLE FIBER:

  • Beans, Peas and Lentils (these foods have the most amount of fiber)
  • Chia seeds or chia meal
  • Flax meal (the flax must be ground, not whole)
  • Oats and oat bran
  • Nuts
  • Barley and other whole grains
  • Fruit (apples, oranges, pears, plums, stone fruit, etc.)
  • Blueberries 
  • Avocados
  • Vegetables
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Psyllium Husk
Blueberries Soluble Fiber

So, you'd think SOLUBLE fiber helping you control your blood sugar would be enough good news to make you eat lots of it.

But the benefits of SOLUBLE FIBER don't stop there!

SOLUBLE FIBER also:

  • Helps you control your cholesterol. If you have cholesterol issues, eat more soluble fiber!
  • Helps you lose weight, if you need to (awesome!!)
  • Helps you feel full, so you don't eat too much
  • Acts as a prebiotic and food source for good gut microbes
  • Helps your gut microbes make Short Chain Fatty Acids, which fight inflammation in your colon and the rest of your body
  • Helps to bulk up your bowel movements. You'll notice your bowel movements are WAY LONGER in length once you start eating more SOLUBLE fiber (but soft and totally easy to pass, so don't worry)

How Can You Make Sure You Eat Both Insoluble and Soluble Fiber?

That's simple!

And it's super-duper easy!

Eat whole plant foods like nature made them!

This way you'll get enough INSOLUBLE FIBER to keep your colon in tip-top shape, make your bathroom visits super quick and pleasant (no straining), and get rid of all those toxins in your colon that can make you sick.

PLUS you'll also get lots of SOLUBLE FIBER so you'll find it easy to control your blood sugar, keep your cholesterol levels under control, make lots of inflammation-fighting short chain fatty acids, and keep your gut microbes happy.

Wow! Who knew eating lots of whole plant foods was sooooo good for you!

How To Start Eating More Fiber

Ladies! Start slow when you increase how much fiber you eat.

Why? Because your gut microbes need time to adjust.

If you start sounding like a tuba…from your rear exit…slow down! (I mean farting a lot.)

Add about 5 to 10 extra grams of fiber a day for two weeks.

Then increase by the same every two weeks…slowly getting up to at least 50 grams of fiber a day — everyday!

Also increase how much water you drink because you need way more water to digest all that fiber!

You can learn more about eating a high fiber diet here:

95-5 Wellness Solution Download

About the Author Joan Pasay

As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Therapist I felt compelled to start Power In The Group. Why? To guide and support women like you with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance so you can regain and nourish your health...without all the confusion. Together we can enjoy the richest quality of life for ourselves, with our families, and within our society...wanna come along?

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