Copyright

How Fiber is Digested by the Body

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Absorption of Micronutrients and Water into the Bloodstream

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What is Fiber?
  • 1:17 Digestion of Fiber
  • 2:35 Benefits of Fiber
  • 3:48 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Ricketts

Donna Ricketts is a health educator with 15 years of professional experience designing health and wellness programs for adults and children.

In this lesson, you will learn how and where fiber is digested in your body. You will also gain a clear understanding of the different types of fiber and their potential health benefits.

What Is Fiber?

Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in the portion of plants that is not digested by enzymes in the small intestine. While you may have heard other names for fiber that include 'bulk' and 'roughage,' be aware that these labels can be misleading because some forms of fiber are not bulky or rough at all.

There are two main types of fiber: soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, and insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans, apples and blueberries. Examples of insoluble fiber are whole grains, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. Both types are important in maintaining optimal health.

There is one more type of fiber, called fermentable fiber. Fermentable fiber is fiber that is resistant to digestion and absorption in your small intestine, just like soluble and insoluble fiber, but is broken down partially or completely by bacteria in the large intestine. Fermentable fibers are also called prebiotics.

Digestion of Fiber

Many types of soluble fiber can act as prebiotics, a food fiber that grows in plants that feed healthy bacteria. Onions, garlic and bananas are examples of where prebiotic soluble fiber can be found. Soluble fiber passes through the small intestine relatively unchanged until it reaches the colon, or large intestine, which is the part of your digestive system responsible for absorbing water from indigestible parts of food. It is here where fermentation of fiber occurs. Fermentation is the action of bacteria on prebiotic fiber, producing gases and short-chain fatty acids.

When the friendly bacteria called probiotics, bacteria that keeps disease-promoting microorganisms from infecting your colon, ferments or digests the probiotic fiber, it produces many nutrients that help keep your colon healthy. The products of the fermentation stimulate your bowels, retain water in your stool and bulk up your stool. Insoluble fiber passes through the colon relatively unchanged and helps bulk your stool.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support