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Drink Fiber for Weight Loss instead of a New Diet

November 26, 2013 (Updated: February 21, 2019)
Lily Moran

Like so many middle-aged people, Jody had been steadily gaining weight since her early 40s. And even though she worked hard to hold the pounds at bay, Jody was losing the battle. And her job as a teacher wasn’t helping. The teacher’s lounge was filled with goodies – chips, crackers, cookies, and cake — from morning to night. “I’ll lose a few pounds, then have a bad day, eat a little something I shouldn’t, and the weight comes right back,” she explained. “It’s so frustrating. Plus, I’m hungry all the time, which is not a fun way to live.”

I mentioned that she might try consuming a little fiber before each meal, but the one product she tried didn’t agree with her. So Jody went from diet to diet, while her weight yo-yoed up and down.

Then a few months ago, Jody came to see me looking like a new woman. When I commented on her weight loss, she said she had lost more than 30 pounds in the past year, and for once was not having trouble maintaining it. “It turns out you were right about the fiber. I just had to find the right one,” she explained. “And my new daughter-in-law actually did it for me.”

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Jody’s son had been teaching English in Japan, where he met a young woman, fell in love, and got married. When the new couple came to the U.S., Jody discovered that her daughter-in-law was a huge fan of American food. But in spite of that, she was very slender.

As they talked, Jody learned her daughter-in-law’s weight management secret – she drank a glass of water with a small amount of flaxseed fiber before most meals. The fiber filled her stomach, so she ate much less but could still enjoy small portions of foods she loved. Many fiber products are made from psyllium seed husks, which are actually laxatives. Psyllium is helpful for constipation, diarrhea, and can also help lower cholesterol, but many people use this type of fiber supplement to prevent overeating. Since psyllium must be taken with 8 to 12 ounces of water, it expands in the intestines. Drinking a fiber beverage before a meal helps most people stop eating earlier than they normally would.

Unfortunately, psyllium can be hard on sensitive colons. But flaxseeds, which perform much the same way that psyllium does, are gentler on the intestines. And they have other health benefits, such as lignans, nutrients that act as antioxidants in the body. Jody found the fiber product made with flaxseed did the trick. Being able to control her hunger pangs prevented her overdoing it in the teacher’s lounge. “I do have to be careful not to get carried away with the pre-meal fiber, because a little goes a long way,” she explained. “But at least I’m not worried that I’ll gain all the weight back anymore. And I can still eat my favorite foods, just less of them. I’m really happy with this weight management solution.”

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