When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

40 Years of Progress: Transforming Cancer. Saving Lives.

The AICR Lifestyle & Cancer Symposium addresses the most current and consequential issues regarding diet, obesity, physical activity and cancer.

The Annual AICR Research Conference is the most authoritative source for information on diet, obesity, physical activity and cancer.

Cancer Update Program – unifying research on nutrition, physical activity and cancer.

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Whether you are a healthcare provider, a researcher, or just someone who wants to learn more about cancer prevention, we’re here to help.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

Are you ready to make a difference? Join our team and help us advance research, improve cancer education and provide lifesaving resources.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

March 30, 2015 | 2 minute read

I’m confused about all the different types of fiber. What is functional fiber?

Q: I’m confused about all the different types of fiber. What is functional fiber?

Bread and whole grains

A: You’re right – it is confusing. Growing research shows that fiber is not all the same. Functional fiber is isolated fiber added to a food or supplement. Dietary fiber refers to fiber that occurs naturally in foods, including vegetables, fruits, grain products, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Regardless of whether fiber is added to a food or occurs there naturally, different forms seem to differ in potential health benefits. Some types of fiber may help reduce problems with constipation. Other fiber tends to form a gel within the digestive tract, binding up cholesterol and helping to reduce its level in the blood. Still other fiber is a type that bacteria in the gut can ferment. This creates compounds that emerging research suggests may help keep colon cells healthy and reduce inflammation. More work is needed to better understand all these potential roles.

The fiber added to fortified foods (like certain breads, cereals, yogurts and more) tends to be inulin or gums. These fibers provide different health benefits than the dietary fibers from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds.

Laboratory studies can isolate individual types of fiber to study the ways they may reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But trying to interpret results from studies with people can be complicated. That’s because foods contain a mixture of different types of dietary fiber, and these foods also tend to be good sources of a variety of vitamins, minerals and natural plant compounds (phytochemicals). That makes it hard to tell how much of the link between high-fiber diets and better health comes from fiber, from these other healthful substances, from their combined effects, or even from a potential help with weight control from these foods.

Learn more: The Facts About Fiber

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