How Does Fiber Work in The Body?

The way fibers work inside the body it ensures a number of health benefits. Fibers not only help to maintain a healthy digestive system but also fight unwanted conditions and diseases related to bowels, intestines, colon, heart and blood. There are common bowel-related health problems and conditions among people. To improve these conditions one can rely on fiber based foods. Fibers have very good effect in fat control and weight loss, as well as other adverse health conditions and diseases.

Fibers can be of two types. These are known as insoluble fibers and soluble fibers. As the name suggests, water-soluble fibers absorb water during digestion. These fibers increase stool bulk and may decrease blood cholesterol levels. On the other side, water-insoluble fibers remain unchanged during digestion. They promote normal movement of intestinal contents. There are many foods that actually contain both types. Research conducted by the American National Institutes of Health show that most people eat only about half of the 25-plus grams of fiber. But they should consume the whole amount of 25-plus grams on a daily basis. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, dietary fibers of both types are important to good health.


How Does Fiber Work?

Inside the intestines, the soluble fibers bind to the substances responsible for fat. The main role of soluble fibers is in cleansing bowels. These fibers cause no irritation of the inner walls of bowels. These fibers have an advantage of being soft and delicate. The other type of fiber i.e. the insoluble fibers are in removing residue from the human digestive system. Water-soluble fibers absorb water during digestion. These fibers increase stool bulk and may decrease blood cholesterol levels. On the other side, water-insoluble fibers remain unchanged during digestion.


After having a meal, you will notice that the processed food is slowing inching its way through the digestive tract when a certain period of time has been elapsed. Sometimes the movement of this processed food is fast but sometimes it is very slow. In fact, between the small and large intestines, food and other waste products has to travel more than 25 feet digestive tract to get to the end of the path. The process of food movement inside the digestive tract is controlled by muscle movement. Whenever there is food inside the digestive tract, the muscle movement happens. In this way, presence of foods in our intestine can influence the muscle movement rate.

Fibers that are of insoluble type remain intact inside our small intestine and they can absorb a lot of waters. As a result insoluble fibers play a big role in maintaining a consistent food movement in our digestive tract. These fibers also control the pace at which processed foods move. When the food gets digested, the other type of fiber, the soluble fiber helps to pace and regulate the passage of food out of the stomach and along to the small intestine. In this way, soluble fibers slow down the gastric emptying which is the name of this digestive process. Fibers also ensures steady pace of processed food movements.


Once inside the body and intestine the fibers start to create fermentation process and grow more friendly bacteria. Some of these bacteria can digest specific subtypes of fiber. In this way fibers assist the digestive process to digest foods, which is otherwise not possible by human body to do. Bacteria can produce specialized digestive enzymes which human body cannot produce. The fibers greatly help to maintain an adequate number of friendly bacteria in the intestine which in turn helps to maintain a healthy colon. The intimate and mutually supportive relationship between fiber in the diet and populations of bacteria in large intestine is important. These bacteria perform best when dietary fiber intake is at best. Another matter is that, bacterial digestion of fiber inside intestine help to provide with the cells that form the lining of the colon. The risk of colon cancer is also reduced with regular intake of high dietary fiber foods.


The fibers that are of soluble type, is able to bind with cholesterol in the intestine. These fibers can prevent the uptake of cholesterol into the body. Soluble fibers allow cholesterols to be eliminated in the stool.

These fibers have no calories. After consumption, these fibers keep you feeling full for long period of time. The reason is that fibrous food remains in the digestive tract for longer periods. This process prevents the brain from signaling the body to eat food. This keeps a person away from overeating and helps to loss extra weight.


These fibers bind water as it passes through the digestive tract. Due to this working mechanism fibers reduce the risk of constipation inside the body. High dietary fiber foods also increase production of a hormone that can reduce blood sugar levels. With the help of bacteria in the large intestine this hormone significantly reduces blood sugar levels.

Last update: March 23, 2017 09:11:53 pm

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