Making it a point to get more fiber in your diet may help you lose weight. While fiber supplements such as Benefiber can help you get more fiber in your diet, to get the results you desire, you'll also need to make changes to your usual dietary intake. Consult your doctor before adding Benefiber to your daily routine.
What Is Benefiber?
Benefiber is a clear, tasteless powdered fiber supplement. It is used to add fiber to any food or drink, including baked goods. In addition to the standard Benefiber, the brand also offers a supplement specifically designed for weight loss, called Benefiber Healthy Shape. Both products contain wheat dextrin as the source of fiber. The main difference between the two supplements is serving size, and therefore the amount of fiber and calories. The standard Benefiber serving size is 2 teaspoons, which contain 15 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Healthy Shape contains 30 calories and 5 grams of fiber in 1 rounded tablespoon of the product.
Fiber and Weight Loss
Getting more fiber in your diet can help you lose weight. A 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine compared weight loss in a group of people with metabolic syndrome who followed the American Heart Association diet versus those who were told to eat more fiber. While the AHA group lost a little more weight than the high-fiber group -- 6 pounds versus 4 pounds respectively -- the researchers concluded that adding more fiber to your diet, even without making other changes, is still effective for weight loss.
Fiber aids in weight loss in two ways: First, it adds bulk so that you feel full fast; second, it delays digestion so that you stay full longer. For overall health, adults need 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, but most adults average about 14 to 15 grams a day, according to a 2012 review article published in Current Obesity Reports.
Lose Weight With Benefiber
The makers of Benefiber Healthy Shape report that the supplement may aid in your weight loss efforts when used as part of a weight-management program. A 2011 study published in Nutrition Research found that a wheat dextrin supplement helped improve meal satiety in a group of overweight healthy adults -- at least for the short term. The researchers noted that satiety was increased and that hunger levels decreased over the 24-day study period.
Although this study did not use Benefiber specifically, it involved the same type of fiber. However, while this preliminary study is promising, more clinical trials are necessary to really know the effectiveness of Benefiber specifically.
Tips for Using Benefiber
There are a number of ways you can include Benefiber supplements in your diet to up your daily fiber intake. Benefiber's makers suggest that you add it to your morning coffee or bottle of water. You can mix it in batter for baked goods such as muffins or quick bread. You can also add it to moist foods such as hot cereal, soup, yogurt or a fruit smoothie to increase your intake of fiber.
It's important to note that when you're trying to lose weight, the number of calories you consume count in all types of food -- even for foods that have added fiber. If you're adding Benefiber to baked goods, you still need to take into account the total number of calories the baked goods add to your overall caloric intake.
Consider High-Fiber Foods
Although Benefiber may help with your effort to lose weight, adding more high-fiber foods to your diet may be even more beneficial. In addition to helping control hunger, high-fiber foods also tend to be low in calories and rich in essential nutrients, making them a good addition to any weight-management diet. Good choices of foods that include fiber are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
Considerations and Warnings
Whether you're upping your fiber intake with a supplement or food, you want to do so slowly, to prevent abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. The University of Florida IFAS Extension suggests that you make only one change at a time and then wait a few days before you add more fiber to your diet. For example, you might start by adding one serving of Benefiber to your daily routine, then a few days later, add a high-fiber food such as whole-wheat pasta to your diet, and then continue to add more fiber every few days, as tolerated.
Also, because fiber absorbs water, you want to make sure that you're getting enough fluid when increasing your fiber intake. FamilyDoctor.org suggests that you aim for 8 cups of water or other calorie-free beverages a day, such as herbal tea or sugar-free lemonade.