Successful weight loss has a lot to do with what you put on your plate—especially if that plate includes plenty of fiber.‡ On top of countless other benefits including heart health and improved digestion and regularity, fiber has been shown to support weight management when included as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.‡
In a recent study conducted by the University of Calgary, researchers found that when obese mice supplemented their daily diet with a prebiotic fiber source, they were more successful at losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight than those who were not fed fiber. What’s more, the gut bacteria of the fiber mice changed over time to resemble the gut bacteria of leaner mice, indicating the fiber source had a positive effect on gut bacteria.
Just How Does Fiber Help with Weight Loss?‡
Numerous studies have shown that fiber has unique appetite-suppressing properties.‡ It expands in the stomach, taking up more space and helping you feel full.‡ It also slows the digestive process to help you stay satisfied after meals, and it triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which tells the brain the stomach is full.‡ Foods high in fiber also help to “flush” unused calories from the body, essentially blocking their absorption and eliminating them via healthy bowel movements.‡
Are You Getting Your 35 Grams a Day?
Leading experts recommend consuming up to 35 grams of fiber every day, and eating more non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits is one of the best ways to increase your daily fiber intake. If you still find it a challenge to get 35 grams a day, fiber supplements may help. Look for a high-quality supplement that:
- contains a balanced ratio of both soluble and insoluble fiber;
- is made with natural and organically grown ingredients;
- includes lignan-rich flax fiber, soluble acacia fiber, or natural chia seed; and
- is psyllium-free to prevent cramping, gas and/or bloating.
Did you know there are more bacteria cells than human cells in your body? Most of them reside in and around your digestive tract, and your personal collection of cells is called your microbiome. The key to a healthy microbiome is making sure the good and neutral bacteria outnumber the harmful bacteria, which is why we so often hear about the importance of maintaining a balanced gut. Here are three new microbiome studies making headlines:
Further Praise for Fecal Transplants
Fecal transplantation refers to the process of transplanting stool from a healthy donor to a recipient in need—typically someone suffering from the infection Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Microbiome found that when people suffering from recurrent C. diff infections received healthy fecal matter (populated with beneficial bacteria) from a donor, positive changes were noted to their intestinal bacteria. What’s more, those changes had long-term benefits—lasting up to five months or more.
Can Poop Predict Obesity?
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recently embarked on a groundbreaking microbial study that reveals a link between what a population “eliminates” and its estimated level of obesity. Scientists collected and analyzed hundreds of sewage samples from more than 70 metropolitan areas and found they were able to predict the obesity rate of each city with more than 80% accuracy. Weighing in at the top was St. Joseph, Missouri, with a 37.4% obesity rate. At the other end of the scale was Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with a 13.5% obesity rate.
Can Miniaturized Microbiomes Reveal More Gut Bacteria Benefits?
Just think about the more than 100 trillion bacterial cells in your body and how they impact your well-being. Might there be benefits even beyond optimal digestion and immune health? That’s what researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina hope to find out. Using human tissue, scientists have discovered a way to create microscopic bacterial colonies they are calling “mini-guts.” About 15,000 mini-guts will fit on a small chip, which researchers will inject with different types of bacteria in order to test the impact of specific microbes on human health.