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Does Soluble Fiber Help You Lose Belly Fat?

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 1, 2022

In synergy with the gut microbiome, the soluble fiber (or viscous fiber) produces substances necessary for numerous health benefits, including healthy stool and weight loss.

One of today's biggest challenges regarding health is maintaining a healthy weight.

That's why we wanted to dive deeper into research on this topic. We spent hours reading science articles and journals in a quest to find out whether soluble fibers are good for weight loss.

Here’s what we’ve found.

Quick Summary

  • Soluble fiber consumption leads to gut microbiome diversity which may help you lose excess body fat.
  • Dietary fiber reduces appetite promoting proper hormone production and prolonging fullness feeling.
  • Some experts suggest that 30 grams per day of soluble fiber can help you lose weight.

Do Soluble Fiber and Gut Microbiome Lead to Less Belly Fat?

Forming a heart shaped hand on belly

Soluble fiber and gut microbiome lead to less belly fat, as some studies suggest [1]. Where is the link between these two?

What we eat has a huge impact on our microbiome structure.

And gut microbiome diversity structure may be more important for our weight control than calorie intake [2].

We can say that soluble fiber consumption might be the best way to keep the microbiome diversity structure healthy.

Soluble fiber passes through our digestive system intact. In that form, it reaches the gut microbiome and becomes bacteria fuel, known as fermentable or prebiotic fiber [3].

By digesting this type of dietary fiber, the gut bacteria produce substances called short-chain fatty acids. Those fatty acids might regulate the amount of fat we burn and the fat we create [4] [5].

They also may lead to losing weight as they signal the body to use its stored resources [6].

Does Soluble Fiber Reduce Appetite?

Specific soluble fiber reduces appetite, and that's another way it may help you lose weight. According to some studies, consuming more viscous fiber and lean protein led to caloric reduction and better weight management [7].

"Fiber slows the speed of digestion, which makes you feel full and may help you eat less and stay satisfied longer." -Marisa Moore, Integrative dietitian

Specific soluble fiber impacts appetite in several different ways.

Some studies suggest it affects lowering the body's hunger hormone ghrelin [8]. It also may aid in producing hormones that make you feel satiated, such as cholecystokinin [9].

As it moves down the gut, soluble fiber absorbs water and transforms into a gel-like substance.

In that condition, it slows down bowel movement, increasing the time for absorption and digestion. That way, blood sugar levels get stable, leading to a prolonged feeling of fullness.

Foods Rich in Soluble Fiber

Different beans on spoon

The rule of thumb is that you need to consume more soluble fiber if you want to maintain weight loss and get rid of the excess body fat.

And that means more plant foods on the menu.  There are different sources of foods rich in soluble fiber.

Popular foods that have good soluble/insoluble fiber ratio are: 

  • Oats 
  • Legumes
  • Flaxseeds
  • Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Chia seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts

Luckily, most of these foods are not expensive and are easy to find and prepare. When possible, try to have fresh fruits and vegetables for a snack.

How Much Soluble Fiber is Necessary?

It might be necessary to take 25 grams of fiber daily for a 2,000-calorie diet. If you aim to lose weight, consuming slightly more fiber, around 30 grams a day, may help with that [10].

Thirty grams a day may support other health benefits, improving the body's response to insulin and lower blood pressure.

Some studies suggest that even a slight increase in fiber intake by 10 grams was linked to a lower risk of gaining belly fat [11].

Either way, be sure to increase the intake in a gradual manner.

Don't consume too much fiber straight away, as a high fiber diet, without preparation, could cause some minor side effects such as stomach bloating and diarrhea.

And remember to increase your water intake because soluble fiber is dissolved in water. Eight glasses a day will help your fiber form a gel-like structure more efficiently and contribute to the feeling of fullness.

Could Fiber Supplements Help With Weight Loss?

Supplement on plate and on spoon

If you are on your carnivore-ish diet or aren't into plant foods, the alternative sources would be fiber supplements.

Inulin, glucomannan, and psyllium husk are the most popular soluble fiber supplements out there.

Studies showed these supplements might help in weight loss, as some of them cause appetite to decrease and metabolism to slow down [12].

Either way, more studies need to be conducted to prove supplement efficiency.

But always bear in mind that supplements are inferior compared with fiber-rich whole foods.

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FAQs

Is Soluble or Insoluble Fiber Better for Weight Loss?

Soluble Fiber is better for weight loss than its insoluble counterpart. Soluble fiber causes the body to release more satiety hormones that decrease appetite.

But insoluble fiber definitely has its benefits, not the least of which is regular and soft stool.

Does Soluble Fiber Count as Carbs?

Soluble Fiber doesn't count as a carb. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are plants' forms of carbohydrates.

The difference is that they can't be broken down to glucose and absorbed by the digestive system.

Does Soluble Fiber Have Calories?

Soluble fiber has calories, and this fiber is registered as caloric on the FDA ingredient list.

It releases a certain amount of energy when broken down by the microbiota in the gut.

Is Soluble Fiber Helpful For Weight Control?

More soluble fiber daily will bring you something more than just calorie restriction in the fight against belly fat. Take your time to slowly increase your soluble fiber consumption and see for yourself if it helps in your weight loss journey.

If you start to feel bloated, you might need to support your microbiome with some high-quality probiotics to ease the transitional discomfort that may arise in the first few weeks.

Combine this diet with regular exercise and healthy sleep patterns, and it’s just a matter of time before the desired results arrive.


References:

  1.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5867888
  2.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27666579/
  3.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390821/
  4.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756104/
  5.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25500202/
  6.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3735932/
  7.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-020-02224-1
  8.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19369431/
  9.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11340104/
  10.  https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M14-0611
  11.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21681224/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3892933/

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