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Dietary fibers are classified into water soluble or insoluble, and most plant foods include in their composition variable amounts of a mixture of soluble and insoluble fibers. This soluble or insoluble nature of fiber is related to its physiological effects. Insoluble fibers are characterized by high porosity, low density and the ability to increase fecal bulk, and act by facilitating intestinal transit, thus reducing the exposure to carcinogens in the colon and therefore acting as protectors against colon cancer. The influence of soluble fiber in the digestive tract includes its ability to retain water and form gels as well as a role as a substrate for fermentation of colon bacteria. This book discusses the production challenges, food sources and health benefits of dietary fiber.
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