Dietary fibers are the indigestible portion of plant foods that move food through the digestive system, absorbing water and easing elimination.

Dietary fiber consists of non-starch polysaccharides such as cellulose and many other plant components such as dextrins, inulin, lignin, waxes, chitins, pectins, beta-glucans and oligosaccharides.

There are two general categories of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers, which are easily digested, can be divided into three major types: pectins (found in root vegetables, cabbage, apples, whole-wheat bran, and beans); gums (which can be obtained from oatmeal, dried beans, and other legumes); and mucilages (which are synthesized by plant cells and are found in food additives).

There are also several types of insoluble fibers. One is cellulose, which can be found in cabbage, peas, apples, root vegetables, whole-wheat flour, beans, bran, and wheat. Another is hemicellulose, which is found in bran, cereals, and whole grains. Lignan, most abundantly found in flaxseed, is a phytochemical that works very much like an insoluble fiber.

Fiber is actually classified as a carbohydrate; in the U.S. the total carbohydrates listed on a food label will include dietary fiber, although the fiber is listed separately.

Fiber - Found in:

Almonds, Apples, Apricots, Artichokes, Beans, Blueberries, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Figs, Flax, Lentils, Peaches, Pears, Popcorn, Raspberries, Rice, Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, Oranges, Blackberries, Sweet Potato,
Meyer KA, Kushi LH, Jacobs DR Jr, Slavin J, Sellers TA, Folsom AR. Carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and incident type 2 diabetes in older women. Liese AD, Schulz M, Moore CG, Mayer-Davis EJ. Dietary patterns, insulin sensitivity and adiposity in the multi-ethnic Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study population. Br J Nutr. 2004 Dec;92(6):973. Wolk A, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, et al. Long-term intake of dietary fiber and decreased risk of coronary heart disease among women. JAMA. 1999;281:1998-2004. Liu S, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB, Rosner B, Colditz G.Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Nov;78(5):920-7. Marlett JA, McBurney MI, Slavin JL; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: health implications of dietary fiber. J Am Diet Assoc 2002 Jul;102(7):993-1000. Jalili T, Wildman REC, Medeiros DM. Nutraceutical roles of dietary fiber. J Nutraceuticals Functional Med Foods. 2000;2(4):19-34.

About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.


  1. So ‘FIBER’, while the article has a lot of information about it… Very Confusing. You’ve listed the categories and the different types, but so much information and some of what is or what I thought supposed to be good for you doesn’t sound so good for me. All this information without any mention of the categories or different types and which ones are good or bad, or most importantly the pros and cons of each and the ones to Avoid. Me thinking that Fiber is definitely good for my daily diet, but so much of that information is making a lot of it sound as if I should do More Research to find out Which Ones/Categories/Types I should or should not use. Also, a lot of the foods mentioned for daily fiber are contradicting after just reading another article telling me to avoid that food due to it containing the natural sugars. The ‘Breakdown’ of the Different Types and/or Categories should definitely also have a “Breakdown of the Pros & Cons” of Each One. I’m more confused about Fiber now after this article. Thanks, Alli R.

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