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More than two-thirds of adults living in the United States have overweight or obesity. Having overweight or obesity increases a person’s risk of developing metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Findings from a 2017 review indicate that dietary fiber supplementation reduces body weight and improves metabolism in adults with overweight or obesity.
Dietary fiber is classified as either soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber, which is found in grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and some vegetables and fruits, dissolves in water and may reduce blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber, which is found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains, does not dissolve in water. It promotes digestive health. Processed foods are typically low in fiber.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommendations for combined fiber intake vary according to age and sex. Women need between 22 and 28 grams of fiber per day, and men need between 28 and 34 grams per day. Most people living in the United States only get about half of the recommended amounts of fiber on a daily basis.
The authors of the review analyzed the findings of 12 randomized controlled trials involving more than 600 participants enrolled in interventions lasting between two and 17 weeks. Their analysis revealed that supplementation elicited beneficial effects on the study participants, with modest but notable improvements observed in BMI, body weight, body fat, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin, compared with the effects of placebo treatments. The authors of the review noted that the types of soluble fiber and dosages varied considerably across the 12 studies, however.
These findings suggest that soluble fiber supplementation is a promising strategy for improving weight and metabolic health in people with overweight or obesity and supports efforts to increase fiber content of processed foods.
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