5 Commonly Asked Questions About Fiber

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It’s part of a grandparent’s dinner time script: “Eat your vegetables and fruits because they’re good for the body.” There were no explanations.  As we grew older, we just accepted without really knowing why we need to eat these.


To help us fully understand why fiber is important, here are the 5 most commonly asked questions.


  • What is fiber? Fiber (or termed as dietary fiber) is an edible but indigestible complex carbohydrate.  You can find this in plant-based food such as vegetables, nuts, fruits, legumes, and seeds. [1]
  • Are there different types of fiber? There are two types of Fiber. The first one is soluble fiber which dissolves in water/other fluids found in the digestive tract and eventually digested in the large intestine. The second is insoluble fiber which does not liquefy so it moves through the gastrointestinal tract and eventually expelled as waste. Most fiber-rich foods have both of these. [2]
  • What are the benefits of fiber? The most well-known benefit of a high-fiber diet is having normal bowel health. This means that one has regular bowel movement and a lower risk of hemorrhoids and creation of small pouches in the colon [3] (which could lead to diverticulitis, a consistent pain in the abdomen due to an inflamed pouch.) [4]
  • Where do you get fiber? While oatmeal is a popular choice for fiber, there are other lesser known foods that have high fiber content. Legumes such as peas, lentils, and black beans are high in fiber. Not far behind are those from the vegetable family – specifically broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes. Raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are a close third. [5]
  • What illnesses can potentially be prevented with high fiber diet? Aside from the common constipation, a high fiber diet reduces the risk of having heart disease (including high blood pressure), diverticulitis, and type 2 diabetes. It is also believed to lower the risk of developing breast cancer, especially those who eat high fiber foods from adolescence to young adulthood. [6] 

[1] “What is Fiber?”, WebMD Medical Reference, [medically reviewed on] June 1, 2018, https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/qa/what-is-fiber

[2] Jennifer Huizen, “Soluble and Insoluble Fiber: What is the Difference?”, [last reviewed on] August 31, 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.c...

[3] Mayo Clinic Staff, “Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet”, November 16, 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-health-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

[4] Mayo Clinic Staff, “Diverticulitis”, August 1, 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/dis...

[5] Nick English, “The Most Surprising High-Fiber Foods”, December 30, 2013, https://www.health.com/food/th...

[6] “Fiber”, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, [n.d.], https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/n...