Cellulose Molecule, Green

Image caption : Dietary fiber (cellulose) is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it is composed of long strands of sugar molecules. However, fiber is unique among carbohydrates because it cannot be broken down to be used as energy. Fiber is not a nutrient; it passes through the system undigested. Nonetheless, fiber is essential to healthy digestion and helps establish a sense of satiety. Adequate fiber intake is associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

There are two classifications of fiber. Insoluble fiber (found in wheat, vegetables, whole grains) does not dissolve in water. Soluble fiber (legumes, beans, peas, oat bran, nuts) does dissolve in water and has a gel-like consistency.

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Dietary Fiber

Also called: Bulk, Roughage

Fiber is a substance in plants. Dietary fiber is the kind you eat. It's a type of carbohydrate. You may also see it listed on a food label as soluble fiber or insoluble fiber. Both types have important health benefits.

Good sources of dietary fiber include

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruit and vegetables

Dietary fiber adds bulk to your diet and makes you feel full faster, helping you control your weight. It helps digestion and helps prevent constipation. Most Americans don't eat enough dietary fiber. But add it to your diet slowly. Increasing dietary fiber too quickly can lead to gas, bloating, and cramps.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.