Plant Fibers vs. Dietary Fibers – Commonly Confused

Plant fiber

Fibers from which threads or ropes are prepared. They are thin, long plant tissue with good tensile property. They can be found in various parts –


  • Seed fiber – cotton (Gossypium genus), Kapok, Luffa, coir
  • Bast fiber – jute, flax, hemp, esparto (mostly the phloem tissue)
  • Leaf fiber – sisal, henequen
  • Regenerated fiber – soybean, bamboo
  • Semisynthetic fiber – rayon
Image of jute ropes
Jute fibers are used to make ropes
Image of cotton fibers
Cotton is plant fiber

Dietary fiber (roughage)

The indigestible portion of food derived from plants. They help to form the bulk of stool. Prevent constipation and colon cancer.


  • Soluble fibers
  • Insoluble fibers

Fermentation by intestinal flora (mostly in colon) produces gas and other byproducts. Based on the extent of fermentation dietary fibers can be

  • Partially fermentable – cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, plant waxes
  • Almost completely fermentable – resistant starches, beta-glucans, pectins, natural gums, inulin, oligosaccharides
Wheat field
Wheat is a source of fiber
Image of Whole Grains
Whole grains are good source of dietary fibers


Dr. Arnab Mukherjee

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