Metamucil is a fiber supplement that offers numerous health benefits. The main ingredient in all Metamucil products is psyllium, a bulk-forming laxative. Metamucil offers powders, capsules and wafers containing psyllium, and the nutritional profile of each product is slightly different, depending on the other ingredients contained in that version of the product.
Metamucil Fiber Supplement
The original style of Metamucil is called Metamucil Orange Smooth. One tbsp. of the original orange-flavored powder has 45 calories and 12 g of carbohydrates, including 9 g of sugar. The fiber content is 3 g, of which 2 g is soluble fiber. Metamucil also contains iron and a small amount of sodium and potassium. Metamucil is considered gluten-free and scores low on the glycemic index, a measure of the amount that a carbohydrate raises blood sugar levels.
The sugar-free versions of Metamucil powders have fewer calories than the original style. Metamucil Sugar-free Orange Smooth, for example, has 20 calories and 5 g of carbohydrates. The fiber, iron, sodium and potassium levels are the same as in the original type. Instead of sugar, this version is sweetened using aspartame.
Metamucil fiber capsules do not contain any type of sweetener or flavorings. They do contain artificial colorings, but these do not contribute to the nutritional value of the capsules. One capsule contains about 10 calories and 3 g of carbohydrates, all of which is fiber. Less than 1 g of protein and a small amount of iron and potassium are in each capsule.
Wheat is featured as the main ingredient in Metamucil fiber wafers, so they are not gluten-free like other Metamucil products. These wafers also have a variety of sugars and flavoring components. A packet of two wafers has 100 calories and 16 g of carbohydrates, of which 6 g is sugar. Two wafers also have 4.5 g of fat and 1 g of protein. These wafers also contain potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin C and a small amount of sodium.
Psyllium, the primary ingredient in most Metamucil products, is the component that gives these products their laxative properties. Psyllium works by turning into a viscous gel in the intestines, helping transport waste through the digestive tract. Psyllium also helps lower cholesterol levels, especially when used in conjunction with cholesterol-lowering medications or a low-fat diet.
Inulin Version of Metamucil
One variety of Metamucil, the Clear & Natural version, does not use psyllium fiber; instead this product uses inulin fiber, which is harvested from chicory roots. Inulin fiber is also a laxative, but it is clear and smooth instead of gritty and thick like psyllium. This version of Metamucil has 25 calories per heaping teaspoon and 6 g of carbohydrates, of which 5 g is soluble fiber. The only ingredient in this product is pure inulin.
- "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Cholesterol-lowering Effects of Psyllium Intake Adjunctive to Diet Therapy in Men and Women With Hypercholesterolemia: Meta-analysis of 8 Controlled Trials; JW Anderson, et al.; February 2000
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Psyllium; May 2009
- Metamucil: Metamucil Fiber Products
- Drugs.com; Metamucil; December 2010