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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Fiber
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism


Alternate Names : Dietary Fiber

Overview & Description | Functions and Sources

There is no official definition of dietary fiber. Experts in the field of food chemistry are currently debating an appropriate definition. Presently, the most accepted definition of dietary fiber is that it is the part of plant foods that cannot be digested or absorbed by humans.

There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. They both have very different functions in the body. Nearly all fiber-containing foods have more insoluble fiber than soluble fiber.


Increased fiber intake in the diet should be done gradually. Fiber can cause increased gas and bloating. It is also important to drink lots of water when on a higher fiber diet or when increasing fiber in the diet. Water helps to move the fiber through the system. Aim for at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day.

There are many things people can do to increase the fiber in their daily diet:

  • Read food labels and choose foods high in fiber.
  • Choose fiber-rich breakfast cereals and eat a bowl every morning. Look for cereal that contains at least 5 grams or more of fiber per serving.
  • Switch to whole-grains breads, pasta, and rice.
  • Eat dried beans at least two to three times per week. They are great in soups or salads.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Eat the edible skin on fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose whole fruit rather than fruit juice as often as possible. Fiber is found in the peel and pulp, both of which are usually removed when the fruit is made into juice.


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    Fiber: Functions and Sources

    Author: Clare Armstrong, MS, RD
    Reviewer: Susan Harrow Rago, RD, MS
    Date Reviewed: 08/10/01

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