We’ve received a few emails lately asking about psyllium husk weight loss. From what we’ve found through our research is that psyllium, a fiber that is sometimes used to treat constipation, has some medical benefits – but the evidence is mixed as to whether or not it can actually help you lose weight.
Whether or not it can help you shed pounds, it can be an important part of your healthy diet and CAN help you control your appetite.
What Is Psyllium Husk?
According to Wisegeek.com , Psyllium husk is the “covering of seeds grown on the plant, Plantago Psyllium” which grows primarily in the Middle East. Experts recognize Psyllium as an excellent source of dietary fiber. Oat bran has 5 grams of fat per 5 tablespoons where Psyllium has 71 grams of fiber per 5 tablespoons.
Because of the large amount of fiber in Psyllium husk contains, it’s the go-to source of fiber for manufacturers of fiber supplements like Metamucil. When it’s consumed it travels through the human digestive tract absorbing water so that a softer, bulkier stool is produced.
It has also been shown to not only improve digestion but also help in lowering cholesterol. With a low fat diet (even with a high fat diet) it’s been shown to lower bad cholesterol by as much as 10%.
There are quite a few psyllium husk fiber benefits. Because of the large fiber content, it helps reduce your hunger cravings by making you feel fuller, longer. In a recent pysllium husk weight loss study from Canada, researchers studied 17 women and the effects psyllium had on weight loss compared to water and a placebo. In the study the women were given water, placebo or psyllium 3 hours before eating and again immediately before they ate. The fullness of each participant was then measured one hour after eating. The women who had consumed psyllium were MORE full than the women who had consumed the water or the placebo. So, in essence, it kept them fuller longer so they were less likely to eat so soon after a meal (which means it reduced their overall caloric intake).
A study from 2007 in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility showed that being full was, obviously, one of the most important factors in weight loss. Diets that are high in fiber reduce insulin levels and regulate blood sugars. Blood sugar regulation and a reduction in insulin levels contribute to weight loss. According to Diabetes.emedtv.com, insulin causes weight gain because it reduces the removal of sugar through the urine. When glucose is lost through the urine it means you end up consuming more calories than you need.
Some Additional Facts
- Because of the fact that foods higher in fiber require additional chewing time, it allows for your body to register that you’re full faster.
- Diets that are higher in fiber are much less energy dense. This means that you can eat the same amount of food that you normally eat but with less calories.
- A studies review at Tufts University found that eating 14 additional grams of fiber each day was associated with a 10 percent decrease in calories and an overall weight loss of about 5 pounds over a period of 4 months.
How To Incorporate Psyllium Into Your Diet
You can find psyllium in tablet, capsule, powder or wafer form. The Medical Center at the University of Maryland says you should start out with a lower dose. The psyllium husk recommended dosage is approximately 1/2 teaspoon dissolved in 8 ounces of water each day. If you want to use psyllium husk for weight loss you should dissolve it into water and drink it about 20 to 30 minutes before you eat. You can aslo try and incorporate it into your diet by adding it into soups, sauces or smoothies.
The Bottom Line
According to most psyllium research, weight loss was not the primary outcome. More research would need to be conducted to ensure that it actually contributed to individuals losing weight. Because of the high fiber content it can help keep you full but that, in and of itself, is not enough to help you slim down. Now, can you use it in addition to a healthy diet to contribute to weight loss? Absolutely. Fiber should be a very important part of anyone’s diet for all kinds of beneficial reasons.
The FDA reported in 2009 that taking psyllium husk for weight loss without taking an adequate amount of liquid could lead to asphyxiation and choking.
As always, talk to your doctor before taking this or any other supplement.
Are you taking psyllium? If so, what results are you experiencing? Discuss it below in our comments section.