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Little is known about the relative effects of fermentable fiber (FF) vs. nonfermentable fiber (NFF) on energy regulation in humans. We compared 27 +/- 0.6 g/d supplements of FF (pectin, beta-glucan) and NFF (methylcellulose) for their ability to decrease ad libitum energy intake (EI) and hunger, increase satiety and cause spontaneous body weight and fat losses. Men and women (n = 11) aged 23-46 y, BMI 20.0-34.4 kg/m2, consumed first NFF and then FF for 3 wk each, with a 4-wk washout period between phases. Daily satiety assessed with analog scales was higher with NFF than FF (60.7 +/- 1.0 vs. 57.7 +/- 0.8 mm, P = 0.01). However, there were no differences in reported EI (NFF < FF by 7%, P = 0.31, NFF < baseline by 9.5%, P = 0.11), body weight (NFF 0.13 kg, P = 0.73; FF 0.13 kg, P = 0.60) or fat percentage (NFF -0.3%, P = 0.56; FF -0.1%, P = 0.66) within either phase. In contrast to findings in animals, NFF was more, rather than less satiating than FF, and use of neither NFF nor FF preparations was associated with body weight or fat loss. These pilot results suggest no role for short-term use of FF and NFF supplements in promoting weight loss in humans consuming a diet ad libitum.


Nancy C Howarth, Edward Saltzman, Megan A McCrory, Andrew S Greenberg, Johanna Dwyer, Lynne Ausman, Daniel G Kramer, Susan B Roberts. Fermentable and nonfermentable fiber supplements did not alter hunger, satiety or body weight in a pilot study of men and women consuming self-selected diets. The Journal of nutrition. 2003 Oct;133(10):3141-4

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PMID: 14519798

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