Fibre (or is it fiber?!)

Fiber is the collective name for a group of vegetable substances. It is the carbohydrates from the cell wall of plants. Research shows that on average, fiber intake is too low. That is why the Health Council has drawn up general guidelines for the recommended daily amount of fiber for adults.⠀

Fiber is not properly digested and broken down during digestion. This ensures that fibers hardly provide any energy. A distinction can be made between the degree to which fibers are broken down. You can subdivide fibers into soluble and insoluble fibers:⠀

Soluble fibers

Soluble fibers dissolve well in an aqueous environment. They are (partly) broken down by bacteria in the colon. During the breakdown, fatty acids are released that, among other things, provide the cells of the colon with energy. This allows soluble fiber to deliver a small amount of calories. This is approximately 2 kilocalories per gram. Soluble fibers are found in particular in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, but also in some grains such as oats, oatmeal and oat bran [1] ⠀

Insoluble fibers

Insoluble fibers are hardly broken down in the large intestine, but mainly absorb a lot of water in the intestine, which increases the stool. In addition, these fibers stimulate movements in the large intestine, as a result of which the intestine kneads the stool towards the rectum and so has a positive influence on your stool pattern. Insoluble fibers are found in particular in (whole-grain) cereal products such as bread, pasta and oats, but also in vegetables [1,2].⠀


In the general guideline of the Health Council, no distinction is made between soluble and non-soluble fibers, because much is still unknown about the different types of fibers. The guideline is 14 grams of dietary fiber per 1000 kilocalories. With the average diet this amounts to approximately 30 to 40 grams of fiber per day. ⠀

[1] Whitney E, Rolfes, SR. Understanding Nutrition. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning; 2008. Hoofdstuk 4 en 7⠀
[4] Müller-Lissner SA. Effect of wheat bran on weight of stool and gastrointestinal transit time: a meta analysis. British Medical Journal. 1988 Fe