Breaking Down: Fiber

I’m sure you’ve heard of fiber before. The general information, how it helps with your digestive health, how it is essential to consume, and it is one of the things listed on the nutrition label of foods. Unlike proteins or sugars, the term “fiber” isn’t explained very well, almost as if you are just supposed to take a surface-level answer and deal with it. You need to be in charge of your own nutritional health, and because of that, it is important to be educated on what fiber is.

Fiber is a carbohydrate. This is probably a term you have heard before, as it is commonly used interchangeably with sugars. Though fiber is a carbohydrate, it is not a sugar. For something to be sugar, it has to be able to be broken down into simple sugars, if it isn’t already one. Examples of simple sugars are glucose, fructose, and galactose. There are others, but those are the most relevant, in order from most to least. Fiber can not be broken down into these sugars, instead, it passes through your digestive tract without being disassembled whatsoever.

If fiber cannot be broken down into energy, then why is it an important carbohydrate? Well, its rare quality of not being able to be broken down by your stomach acids is the reason why it is able to facilitate and check your sugar levels throughout your body. If you had food that has a lot of sugar, let’s say an apple, for example, the sugar can be quickly broken down and passed through. But because the apple also has fiber, all the nutrients are able to be digested at a normal speed, where your organs are not under excess pressure, it does not. Fiber is an important aspect of your body maintaining its homeostasis, which is when your body is able to stay at equilibrium.

Some fibers are able to be broken down by the waters in your body, while others are not. They each serve their own purpose, so it is important to consume both of them. Soluble fibers (the ones that can be broken down) are found in oatmeal, nuts, beans, apples, and blueberries. Insoluble fibers (the ones that cannot be broken down) are found in whole wheat, brown rice, green vegetables, and again, apples. Because they have been mentioned three times already, it is smart to assume that apples have a lot of fiber. They do! Whenever you are experiencing digestive problems, have an apple or two! Along with providing both types of fiber, it also provides sugars for energy and other nutrients for general health.

Now that you know what fiber is, what it does, and where it is found, you can safely say that you have more than a surface-level understanding of fiber. And even though this post is called “Breaking Down: Fiber”, remember that what makes fiber special is that it does not get broken down! Stay healthy and eat fiber!


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