You see it everywhere: muffins, with more fiber! Yogurt, with added fiber! Cereal, with 10 times the fiber!
So is fiber really all that important for your health, and for weight loss? In a word: Yes.
There are two types of fiber: soluble, which mixes with water in foods and slows digestion, and insoluble, which passes through your digestive system intact. "Both play an important role in a healthy diet," said Denise Wall, MPH, RD, project coordinator of Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Tracks. Soluble fiber helps you feel full longer and controls weight, while the insoluble fiber clears out toxins and prevents constipation.
But the benefits don't stop there. "Soluble fiber slows digestion and absorption of sugar into the bloodstream; this prevents spikes in blood sugar following a meal and can help control diabetes," Wall said. "Soluble fiber can also help lower cholesterol and may reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.
"Insoluble fiber helps prevent diseases that affect the digestive system, such as colon cancer," she added.
So besides filling you up and keeping things moving, fiber even has an effect on your long-term health.
Soluble fiber can be found in:
Insoluble fiber can be found in:
- whole-wheat products
- brown rice
Tell us: What are some of your favorite ways to work more fiber into your diet?
>> Read more: Get Back on Track with These 9 High-Fiber Snack Recipes
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