What is Soluble Fiber and Why Is It So Helpful to Your Diet? The Answer
When you hear the words soluble fiber you might think of old people who need a little help getting things moving along in the bathroom. But soluble fiber is so much more than a cure for constipation (though it does that too), it is the cellular infrastructure of all fruit and vegetables, pulses like beans, and nuts and seeds. These whole foods rely on fiber molecules to create shape, stencil strength to grow (up toward the sun or in the case of roots like carrots down to absorb the minerals from the soil), and unlike animals and humans who have our musclular-skeletal framework, fiber only exists in plants.
Why does it help you? Fiber, and specifically soluble fiber, can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, and the more fiber you eat, the lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancer. STUDY HERE.
Think of fiber as a dietary traffic cop that helps direct the food you eat through your system, helping it move steadily, as opposed to speeding, so that nutrients can get absorbed at a measured pace. Too fast, and macronutrients such as simple carbs in sugary sweets, sodas, white bread, rice, or pasta gets dissolved almost instantly, causing a rush of calories and energy to enter your bloodstream, which is great when you're out running a 10K but otherwise it triggers a spike your blood sugar, that in turn sends insulin surging. But when you eat high carb foods devoid of fiber, and you are not doing jumping jacks, your body realizes it can't use all that energy at that moment, so it sends it packing to your fat cells, to get stored for later use. If fiber is present, in the form of whole grains such as whole-wheat bread (look for 4 grams of fiber per slice) or quinoa or whole oats, then it slows down this rate of absorption and allows the body to take in the nutrients and calories in a way that it can use them up, not need to shunt them off to the fat storage units (our fat cells).
Soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber
Insoluble fiber is the kind that dow n