Viscous, soluble dietary fiber is known to slow the rate of gastric emptying and the rate of glucose absorption, thus leading to a reduction in the overall glycemic response for the meal. Studies have also shown that a diet producing a reduced glycemic response can result in lower adiposity compared to diets with a higher glycemic response and that, at least in mice, this is associated with greater fatty acid oxidation.
A recent article in the journal Obesity, investigated the effect of viscous dietary fiber on adiposity and other relevant measures in rats. The animals were divided into two groups and fed diets that differed only in the kind of dietary fiber for six weeks. In one group, the fiber was a viscous, soluble form, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC), while in the other group the fiber was nonsoluble cellulose. Since they differed only in the form of dietary fiber, the diets provided the same calories.
The animals fed HPMC were significantly lighter at the conclusion of the study even though there was no significant difference in food intake. Percent adiposity was lower in the HPMC group while lean tissue gain did not differ. Since the total energy intake did not differ, and other dietary parameters were equivalent, muscle energetics were positively affected by the HPMC diet compared to the cellulose diet. This may also contribute to another well known effect of soluble dietary fiber, lowering of plasma cholesterol levels.
Increasing soluble dietary fiber, either through diet choices or supplementation, provides a simple and effective way to improve energy balance and weight management.
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