Food scientists and dietitians categorize fiber in a handful of ways. While each categorization method has its pros, cons, and exceptions, the most common method is based on water solubility.
“Water solubility” may sound technical, but it’s deceptively simple
! If something is soluble
in water, it will dissolve in water. If something is insoluble
in water, it will not dissolve in water. It’s as easy as that!
With your newfound knowledge, it should come as no surprise that soluble fiber
s are those that dissolve in water and insoluble fiber
s are those that do not dissolve in water. How dietary fibers interact with water changes how our body handles them as they move through our digestive tract and interact with our gut microbes.
We’ll dive into the gut microbiome later on, but in general, fibers that are fermented by the microbiome are associated with numerous health benefits like immune functionality
and mood regulation
. Fibers that are not readily accessible to the microbiome yield other important health attributes like reduced blood cholesterol
Soluble and insoluble fibers are almost always found together in the same plant-based foods but at different ratios
. Not only do both types of fiber contribute to a healthy diet, but they also serve very different functions in foods. Fiber’s interaction with water is so critical that AgriFiber uses the soluble/insoluble distinction to separate its product line: Soluble fibers (SFC
, SFO) and insoluble fibers (MFC
), all of which are upcycled from the same crops.