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Fiber Supplements

Submitted by Nick on March 18, 2011

Soluble Fiber Supplements

When designing a diet, most people concentrate on the ‘more important’ food groups, - proteins and carbohydrates. Unfortunately, the truth is that all food groups are just as important, and without any one, your diet falls short. Dietary fiber is actually a complex carbohydrate, but it is not digestible like normal carbs. Instead, it is responsible for keeping your digestive tract clean and making your stool bulkier. What many people do not realize is that fiber also helps with weight loss, and if you do not get enough in your diet, dietary fiber supplements can help.

There are two types of fibers: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers are mostly found in fruit like grapes, peaches, and berries, barley, rye, and oatmeal. Pectin is an example of soluble fibers.

They are known as soluble fibers because they dissolve in water. On the other hand, insoluble fibers are found in vegetables like celery or carrots, whole grains, bran, pasta, seeds, beans etc. Fiber supplements are mostly made up of insoluble fibers.

Fiber Supplements for weight loss

The body only loses fat, and subsequently, weight, when it burns more energy (calories) than it consumes. One way to do this is of course to exercise.

But, there are other ways to raise your metabolism, which makes you burn calories even at rest. If you are not getting enough fiber in your diet, then high fiber supplements can help. They work in a variety of ways.

First of all, insoluble fiber is not digestible by the gut, but it still tries to digest it. So, in a way, the body is “wasting energy” and burning extra calories trying to digest this insoluble fiber. Secondly, soluble fiber supplements lower cholesterol levels in the body, which makes it easier to lose weight. Finally, soluble fiber expands when it absorbs water, making the stomach feel fuller, meaning you end up eating less.

Of course, there is no such thing as the ‘best fiber supplement’, but you can try natural fiber supplements based on Psyllium husk. They are not too expensive and are available over the counter in most drug stores or supermarkets. Similarly, you can get glucomannan supplement in capsules. Flaxseed based supplements are also available, and you can grind this up and add it to your food for a boost of fiber. In order for even the best fiber supplement for weight loss to be effective, it has to be taken at least thirty minutes before a meal. This will give it time to settle in the stomach and absorb water, which in turn, will make youfeel full.

Fiber supplements for constipation

Fiber supplements have been shown to help with constipation. They bind the stool together, making it bulkier and easier to pass. You need both soluble and insoluble fibers to help relieve constipation. Fiber has also been shown to help with other digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Some fibers that can help are methycellulose, which can be taken every day, and polycarbophil, which is also safe. Keep in mind that you need to slowly build up the dosage of these supplements, as they can otherwise worsen constipation and gas. Also, remember not to take too much, as they can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients like zinc, calcium, and iron.

A final word on fiber supplements

although they are safe and can be used daily, they are not a perfect substitute for a good diet. Try to eat fiber rich foods, because this will help tremendously in the long run. You can get fiber from whole grains and fruits, and these natural fibers are without a doubt healthier for you.
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