What was in this article

  1. Different Types of Dietary Fibre

  2. What is Fibre?

  3. Different Types of Dietary Fibre

Different Types of Dietary Fibre

This article explains what dietary fibre is, different types of fibre and ways to include more fibre in your daily diet.

What is Fibre?

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate found in plant foods that is not digested. In the UK, it’s recommended that adults should eat around 30g of fibre daily. Here are some common foods and their fibre content (see Table 1).

Table 1: Common Foods and Their Fibre Content


Food Fibre Content (g)
Medium banana 2g
Apple 2g
Small handful of walnuts (30g) 2g
Medium orange 3g
Raspberries (60g) 3g
Broccoli (80g) 3g
Medium carrot e 3g
Brown rice (180g) 3g
Linseeds or flax seeds (15g) 4g
Tahini (30g) 4g
Uncooked oats (50g) 5g
Chia seeds (2tbsp) 8g

Unlike other types of carbohydrates - such as starch and sugar, which are digested in the small intestine - fibre passes through to the large intestine, where it’s broken down by gut bacteria. This process is known as fermentation.


Fibre is classified according to many factors, such as its ability to be broken down by health bacteria (fermentability) as well as its ability to thicken and dissolve in water. These last two properties are important for healthy digestion. They help fibre to absorb water in the intestine and add bulk to the stool, which makes it easier and more comfortable to pass.


Eating enough dietary fibre can help you to stay regular, preventing constipation.

Different Types of Dietary Fibre

There are lots of forms of dietary fibre, each with different properties which affect our health (see Table 2).

Table 2: Different Types of Dietary Fibre


Type of Dietary Fibre Food Sources Key Properties
Resistant Starch (RS)
  • Wholegrains
  • Green bananas
  • Cooked and cooled potato, pasta and rice
  • Chemically modified starch (sometimes added to manufactured foods which are high in energy/fat i.e., cakes and biscuits. Remember to limit portion sizes for these foods)
  • RS ‘resists’ normal digestion in the small intestine
  • It’s broken down in the large intestine, which helps to feed our gut bacteria.
Psyllium (Ispaghula Husk)
  • Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative which is recommended by NICE as a first-line treatment for constipation
  • It’s often taken in powder/husk form or as a tablet
  • Dissolves easily in water, which  means it absorbs water in the intestine, bulks up the stools and helps to make them easier to pass.
Prebiotics Containing Foods
  • Oats
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Garlic, onion and leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Chicory
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Bananas
  • Food ingredients which help to maintain or restore gut bacteria.


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