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Are Fiber Supplements Fat Burning Food?


If you're taking a fiber supplement or eating a high fiber diet, you may inadvertently be consuming fat burning food.

Everyone knows that fiber is something you need in your diet to be healthy, and that primarily it relieves constipation by increasing the bulk in stool to allow easier bowel movements.

But taking fiber supplements or eating a high fiber diet may also be beneficial when included within a balanced diet and exercise program.

It has been controversial as to whether fiber could be considered a component of fat burning food, as research has returned some conflicting results. For example, early studies published in 1987 found that a dietary fiber supplement given to moderately obese individuals significantly increased weight loss when compared to those in the placebo group1. But another study published four years earlier, conducted by some of the same researchers as those in the above study found that ispaghula (psyllium) and bran (both good sources of soluble and insoluble fiber) had no effect on weight loss2.

Certainly the differing results may have originated from the differences in the way that the two studies were conducted. The studies which resulted in fiber supplements inducing weight loss had administered fairly high dosages of fiber (most fiber supplements contain about 3 - 4 grams of fiber per serve), of 5-7 grams per day on top of general dietary advices which includes increasing dietary fiber intake.

It may be possible, although not proven, that dosages may need to be high to induce the desired effect of weight loss. Tuft's University's review of the available literature in this area found that when participants in the studies reviewed ate an ad libitum diet, an increase of dietary fiber of 14 grams was associated with an average of 1.9 kg weight loss over 3.8 months.3.

The average western diet includes somewhere between 15 - 18 grams of fiber. An increase of 14 grams would mean that if you were currently consuming 15 grams, an increase of 14 grams per day would mean you'd be consuming a total of 29 grams of fiber.

The amount of dietary fiber regularly recommended is 30 grams. So by either consuming this fiber through food (preferable) or by supplement, you may be giving your body a better chance to lose weight by consuming fiber, but by far the best advantage will be that you will be getting a healthier body.

So given that a fiber supplement can be helpful, (if and only if, a high fiber diet is impossible), to lose weight and most certainly to kick-start a healthier body, what should you look for in a fiber supplement? A full discussion of what you need to look for in a fibre supplement can be found at Savvy Fat Burning Food and click on lose weight basics.

References:

1. Rossner S., et. al. Weight Reduction with dietary fiber supplements. Results of two double-blind randomised studies. Acta Med. Scand. 1987;222(1)83-8.

2. Hylander B, Rossner S., Effects of dietary fiber before meals on weight loss and hunger in a weight reducing club Acta Med Scand. 1983;213(3):217-20.

3. Howarth NC, Saltzman E, Roberts SB. Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutr Rev. 2001 May;59(5):129-39.

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