Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Some people don’t realize it, but there are actually two different types of fibers and their impact on your digestive system is quite different.  These two fibers are soluble and insoluble.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber, as its name suggests, does not dissolve in water and it is not fermented by your gut’s bacteria.  When eaten, insoluble fiber will stay intact as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract.

The main usage of insoluble fiber is to help create bulk in a person’s stool. 

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is the opposite of insoluble fiber as it can be dissolved in water.  Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance in the colon.  The gel is then digested by bacteria in the large intestine.  Soluble fiber can have the following dietary benefits:

  • Lower cholesterol: Soluble fiber can prevent the absorption of bile acids in the intestine causing increased elimination of bile salts.  This leads to a reduction in bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol).[1]

  • Stabilizing blood sugar level: In people with diabetes, soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels.[2] 

  • Improve gut health: Some soluble fibers can feed gut bacteria, as it is fermentable in the colon and so it helps the bacteria thrive longer.

How much Fiber?

According to the Dieticians of Canada group, most Canadians only get half of the fiber they need every day.  Additionally, they state that there is no upper limit to fiber therefore high intake of fiber from food should not be a problem for healthy people.  However, when you decide to take more fiber the intake should be increased slowly and water consumption should also be increased.  Many experts recommend that total dietary fiber to be approximately 25 to 30 grams per day with about one-fourth – 6 to 8 grams per day – coming from soluble fiber. 

Natural sources of Soluble fiber include the following:

  • Black Beans – 5.4 grams for ¾ of a cup

  • Lima Beans – 5.3 grams for ¾ of a cup

  • Brussel sprouts – 2 grams per ½ cup

  • Sweet potatoes – 1.8 grams per ½ cup

  • Broccoli – 1.5 grams per ½ cup

  • Turnips – 1.7 grams per ½ cup

  • Kidney beans – 3 grams per ¾ cup

Alternatively, if you have trouble getting enough natural soluble fiber into your diet you can try adding in dietary soluble fiber supplements to make up the deficit.

Fenugreek Fiber

Fenugreek fiber is very high in soluble fiber (over 85%) and it has special characteristics that could make it more effective than other soluble fibers.  It’s unique galactose to mannose ratio of 1:1 provides fenugreek fiber with a structure that is resistant to enzyme breakdown.  This ensures that the fenugreek gel structure stays intact and it is theorized that more of the soluble fiber makes it way down to the

Fenugreek Fiber has been manufactured by Emerald Seed Products Ltd (Emerald) for over ten years.  The fenugreek fiber produced by Emerald is made from locally grown fenugreek seed and is manufactured in Avonlea, Saskatchewan.  Additionally, fenugreek fiber, from Emerald has the following benefits:

  • Control chronic heartburn and GERD

  • Control blood glucose levels

  • Lower bad cholesterol levels

  • Sustainable

  • Non-GMO

  • Obtained from high quality Canadian fenugreek seed

  • Traceable to the Canadian farmer

[1] An Update on Statin Alternatives and Adjuncts. Matthew J Sorrentino. Clin Lipidology. 2012;7(6):721-730.

[2] Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic