Portion of Fiber Molecule, Brown

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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