How much Fiber do Smoothies have and Where does Dietary Fiber come from?

No matter how thoroughly pureed fruit is, the fiber is still effective.

In the dietary context, the word fiber is misleading because it conjures up images of eating coconut husks and mattress stuffing. But dietary fiber doesn’t refer to a physical texture.

It’s a catchall term for the components of vegetable foods that humans don’t have the enzymes for digesting, and that therefore have no energy value and pass through our digestive tracts unchanged (which is their major virtue). We used to call it bulk or roughage. Although it has no chemical or nutritive value, it is essential for physically moving everything we eat through the processing plant we call the alimentary canal.

Dietary fiber, found in fruits, vegetables, and grains but not in animal products, has been found to decrease the risk of certain disorders such as colon cancer, although that finding has been challenged. Nevertheless, fiber is one of the main reasons that eating fruits and vegetables is so important to health.

There are both water-soluble and water-insoluble fiber substances, and nutritionists recommend eating lots of both kinds. The soluble ones are mostly pectins and gums, found in fruits; they’re what cause fruit jellies to gel.

Tart apples, crab apples, sour plums, Concord grapes, quinces, gooseberries, red currants, and cranberries are especially high in pectin. The most common insoluble fibers are cellulose and lignin, the binder between the cellulose fibers that make up the structural framework of plants’ cell walls.

Some termites can digest and utilize the energy inherent in cellulose and lignin, but we humans can’t. On the other hand, termites are lousy at Scrabble.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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