Role of Fiber in Healthy Diet

N.L Swathi

N.L Swathi

Dec 10, 2023 · 4 min read

Diabetes and cardiac-related diseases are on the rise globally, with one of the most common causes being high blood sugar levels caused by carbohydrate consumption [when carbohydrates are broken down, glucose molecules are formed]. It is believed that eating more carbohydrates will raise blood sugar levels, but the fiber is a type of carbohydrate that actually lowers blood sugar levels while still assisting in the prevention and treatment of a number of diseases. Incorporating fiber into a diet will therefore make it more of a healthy diet.

A healthy diet must include fiber, but it is frequently forgotten about. Although it doesn't contain any nutrients or energy, it is essential for maintaining the health and functionality of our digestive system. We'll talk about the value of fiber in a balanced diet in this article, along with some advice on how to increase your body's fiber intake.


Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant foods that our bodies cannot digest or absorb but instead moves through the mouth, stomach, and small intestine before leaving the body. Fiber does not degrade to form glucose molecules. Fiber controls how the body uses sugar, which helps control hunger and blood sugar levels. Fiber is also known as "dietary fiber." Other names for dietary fiber include bulk and roughage.

Types of Fiber

Based on the solubility of fiber in water, there are two types

Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can aid in lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Oatmeal, chia seeds, nuts, beans, apples, and blueberries are soluble fiber-rich foods.

Insoluble fiber, Constipation can be avoided, and regularity is promoted by insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water and helps move food through the digestive tract. Foods that contain insoluble fiber include whole wheat products (especially wheat bran), brown rice, legumes, leafy greens, almonds, seeds, and fruits with edible skins like pears and apples.

Both types of fiber are good for your health and can be added to your food.

Importance of fiber in the diet.

1. Promotes bowel regularity.

Fiber helps maintain bowel regularity, which is one of its main advantages. The stool becomes bulkier and is, therefore, easier to pass. Hemorrhoids, constipation, and other digestive issues can be avoided in this way. Additionally, fiber helps to control how quickly food passes through the digestive system, which can reduce diarrhea.

2. Lowers the risk of heart disease.

By lowering cholesterol levels, fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Particularly soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and stops the bloodstream from absorbing it. This lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of developing heart disease.

3. Controls blood sugar levels.

By delaying the absorption of carbohydrates, fiber can help control blood sugar levels. By doing this, blood sugar spikes and crashes are avoided, which guards against diabetes and other health issues. Additionally, fiber promotes insulin sensitivity, which enhances cells' ability to absorb glucose.

4. Promotes weight loss.

Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer, which aids in weight loss. The longer digestion times of high-fiber foods can aid in reducing hunger and preventing overeating. Furthermore, fiber-rich foods frequently contain fewer calories, which makes them an excellent option for weight management.

5. Reduces the risk of cancer.

Fiber consumption has been associated with a lower risk of developing certain cancers, including colon cancer. This is due to the fact that fiber facilitates the faster passage of waste through the digestive system, which shortens the time harmful substances are in contact with the intestinal lining. Furthermore, fiber supports the development of healthy bacteria in the gut, which may help inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.

The Institute of Medicine advises men and women under the age of 50 to consume 38 and 25 grams of fiber, respectively, while those over 50 are advised to consume 30 and 21 grams, respectively.

Tips for increasing fiber intake.

  • Eating breakfast consisting of whole wheat, grains, and cereal
  • Adding an extra vegetable or fruit after food due to the presence of dietary fiber
  • Nut bars and a handful of almonds as a crunchy snack instead of chips and chocolate
  • Adding foods high in fiber to the meals you typically eat
  • substituting millet and barley, which are high in fiber, for rice and bread.
  • Consider taking fiber supplements [guar fiber, psyllium] if the amount of fiber in your diet is insufficient.

In a healthy diet, fiber is crucial because it offers a variety of advantages. In addition to encouraging regular bowel movements, it also lowers the risk of cancer, blood sugar regulation, heart disease, and diabetes. It's crucial to consume a lot of whole foods in your diet and aim for the recommended daily intake of essential fiber if you want to benefit from fiber.


1. Dietary fiber: essential for a healthy diet - Mayo Clinic

2. Dietary fiber - Better Health Channel

3. Fiber | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.