The health benefits of dietary fiber are widely recognized by experts in the health and science communities as well as government authorities. Many scientists have linked the intake of dietary fiber to reduction in the risk of numerous diseases. These include improvements in blood sugar and insulin response, obesity, high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), and high blood pressure (hypertension), and some cancers. Dietary fibers have also been proven beneficial for bowel function and intestinal transit, gastrointestinal health through improved microbiota composition, colonic fermentation and short chain fatty acid production, increasing satiety, and weight loss.
Three major mechanisms are responsible for the physiological benefits of dietary fiber: (1) bulking, (2) viscosity, and (3) fermentation. Some dietary fibers contribute benefits through more than one mechanism – i.e., psyllium contributes both bulking and viscosity. These mechanisms, with different dietary fibers known for these effects, are shown in the following diagrams:
Did You Know?
Some dietary fibers help fuel your colon cells, leading to anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Fill in the Fiber Gap
The recommended daily serving of fiber is 25-34 grams, but most Americans only consume 16 grams of fiber a day. For more information about the fiber gap and great ideas to increase your fiber intake, read these posts from consumers like you.