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How Does Fiber Help You Lose Weight?
Updated on November 29, 2022
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How Does Fiber Help You Lose Weight?

Many plant-based foods contain fiber. Some sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dietary supplements.

Fiber can’t be digested by the gut. It has zero calories, but it offers health benefits like weight loss.

Eating fiber-rich foods and taking fiber supplements can:1,2

  • Reduce your weight and body mass index (BMI)
  • Encourage you to stick to a weight loss diet
  • Prevent you from regaining the weight you lose
  • Help you maintain a healthy weight

We wanted to explain how fiber helps with weight loss. So we asked registered dietitian Elise Harlow to step in and shed light on the topic. Below, she also provides a few tips on fiber intake.

What is Dietary Fiber?

Dietary fibers are the parts of a plant that can’t be digested or absorbed by the body. They stay relatively intact as they pass through your gut. 

Also known as roughage or bulk, there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fibers.

What is Soluble Fiber?

Soluble fibers dissolve in water and form into a gel-like substance. They can soften stool and slow your digestion.

Some good sources of soluble fiber are:

  • Apples
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Citrus fruits
  • Oats
  • Peas
  • Psyllium

What is Insoluble Fiber?

Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water. Because of this, they increase the bulk of your stool. They encourage the easy passage of digested materials through the gut.

Some good sources of insoluble fiber are:

  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Wheat bran
  • Whole wheat flour

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What Is A Fiber Supplement?

A fiber supplement is an alternative source of dietary fiber. If you don’t get enough fiber from foods, you can take it to increase your fiber intake.

Common fibers that are included in these supplements are:

  • Calcium-polycarbophil
  • Coarse wheat bran
  • Flaxseed
  • Methylcellulose
  • Psyllium husk

Fiber supplements will contain either soluble or insoluble fiber. Some (like psyllium) have both.

Fiber is sometimes added to gut health supplements as an ingredient. Depending on the brand, these blends may have probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and healthy yeasts.

Dietary Fiber and Weight Loss Benefits

Studies show that fiber can promote weight loss regardless of macronutrients and calorie intake.2 

People who practice calorie restriction can also benefit from fiber. Those who get enough fiber are more likely to stick to their weight loss diet.

According to Elise Harlow, M.S., R.D.N., fiber helps you to feel full and stay full. It can help you focus on what to eat more of (fiber) rather than what you have to cut out or reduce.

“This can help people to lose weight and prevent them from constantly feeling hungry, which commonly happens on calorie-restricted diets and can be a barrier to sticking with the diet changes,” she explains.

The effects of high-fiber diets are also more pronounced in people who need to lose weight. So if you’re obese or overweight, you’re more likely to enjoy its weight loss benefits.

For those who have already shed pounds, eating foods rich in fiber can help you to maintain a healthy weight and prevent regaining the weight back.

Do Fiber Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

Fiber supplements can also help you lose weight. They can reduce your overall weight and body mass index (BMI).

When taking fiber supplements, doctors recommend taking them along with a fiber-rich diet. People who take fiber supplements with a low-calorie diet may lose more weight than those who just follow the diet.

Fiber supplements also offer health benefits that can help with weight control. For example, adequate fiber intake can help to regular blood sugar and increasing a person's feeling of fullness.

Why Is Fiber Good for Weight Loss?

Fiber contains little to no calories. You can eat as many as you like and not add a lot to your total calories. That said, registered dietitian Elise Harlow cautions readers to be careful with their fiber intake:

“It is important to note that while most people would benefit from increasing their intake of fiber, doing so too rapidly can result in stomach discomfort and other stomach issues. I recommend slowly increasing your fiber intake. When increasing your fiber, also be sure to increase your water intake."

Fiber can help you reach a calorie deficit, which is the goal of many weight loss diets.

Research shows that fiber promotes weight loss by enhancing your satiety. It can make you feel full for longer periods, reducing your hunger and the number of times you eat in a day.

Research shows that fiber promotes weight loss by enhancing your satiety. It can make you feel full for longer periods, reducing your hunger and the number of times you eat in a day.

One study links weight loss to a higher ratio of Bacteroides vs. Firmicutes gut bacteria. Fiber and probiotic supplements can increase the Bacteroides in your gut.3,4

According to researchers, people with a higher ratio of Bacteroides tend to be leaner. Meanwhile, those with more Firmicutes in their gut are usually more obese.3

How Much Fiber Per Day to Lose Weight

Most studies show you need at least 30 grams of fiber each day for weight loss.1 Fiber-rich food can also reduce blood sugar and lower your blood pressure.

So if you have diabetes, hypertension, or simply want to lose weight, make sure to include fibers in every meal. Planning meals in advance gives you the opportunity to add fiber to your diet.1

Taking Fiber to Lose Weight

Dietary fiber is vital to any healthy diet and can provide many health benefits, including weight loss. If you aren't able to get enough through food, fiber supplements can help you to fill in the gaps.

Both dietary fiber and fiber supplements have been scientifically proven to provide many health benefits, including weight loss.

When combined with a high-fiber diet, fiber supplements can:5

  • Make you feel full for longer periods
  • Decrease the number of times you eat in a day
  • Reduce your daily calorie consumption
  • Promote long-term weight loss
  • Encourage you to stick to your diet
  • Maintain your healthy weight

If you need help losing weight, KnowYourDNA recommends Colon Broom. It’s a sugar-free fiber supplement that contains Psyllium husk.

The dietary fiber in Colon Broom makes it useful for weight loss. Its no-sugar formula won’t add unnecessary calories to your diet.

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Elise Harlow
Elise Harlow, M.S., R.D.N.
Medical Reviewer
Elise Harlow is a registered dietitian with a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences. She is the founder of an online nutrition consulting and coaching business.

Elise helps people use the power of food to lead healthier lives. She works with various clients, including those who want to achieve a healthier weight, improve their gut health, lower cholesterol, manage their blood sugar, or balance their hormones.
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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