Pectin’s ability to thicken jams and jellies represents the same quality responsible for its health benefits. After it enters your stomach, it forms a gelatinous mass that may support weight loss by creating a feeling of fullness. Because pectin comes from fruits and vegetables, you can also boost your pectin intake while consuming low-calorie and nutrient-rich foods.
Pectin’s potential to influence weight loss comes from being a soluble fiber. Like other types of soluble fiber, it absorbs water and forms a viscous mass, which travels through your stomach and small intestine undigested. Once it reaches your large intestine, pectin adds moisture to stool, but it also fills another important role: It’s fermented by bacteria in your large intestine, which supports good bacteria and produces energy used by the colon.
One way pectin can help you lose weight is by making you feel full. When it absorbs water and expands, it distends the stomach and triggers stretch receptors. The receptors send signals out to your brain, telling it your stomach is full. In return, your brain triggers the release of hormones that extend the sense of satiety. Pectin’s gelatinous mass also slows down gastric emptying, which means it takes longer for food to leave your stomach and enter the small intestine. This action further contributes to feeling full and satisfied.
Blood Sugar Regulation
As pectin slows the movement of digested food through the small intestine, it also moderates the rate at which sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream. Eliminating swings from high to low levels of sugar may help you lose weight two ways. When blood sugar drops too low, you feel hungry whether you need to consume more calories or not. On the flip side, high levels of blood sugar cause more insulin to be released, and insulin has a fat-sparing effect that stops your body from burning stored fat for energy, according to Colorado State University.
Foods to Choose
Oranges, grapefruit and lemons are some of the best sources of pectin. After citrus fruits, good choices include apples, apricots, bananas, raspberries and blackberries. Carrots have almost as much pectin as citrus fruits. Squash, beans and sweet potatoes are other good vegetable sources. While it’s healthiest to get pectin from whole foods, supplements are generally considered to be safe. The typical dose is 500 milligrams taken three times daily right before you eat, reports the Cleveland Clinic.
- Nutrients: Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health
- Nutrients: Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits
- Harvard Medical School: Why Eating Slowly May Help You Feel Full Faster
- Colorado State University: Physiologic Effects of Insulin
- Journal of Food Science: Reassessment of Some Fruit and Vegetable Pectin Levels
- Cleveland Clinic: Pectin Supplement Review
- University of Illinois at Chicago: Getting Enough Fiber in Your Diet Does not Have to Be Like This
- MedlinePlus: Hypoglycemia