Fiber supplement compared to a healthy diet in overweight people

The growing prevalence of obesity worldwide has brought about an increased risk of metabolic syndrome risk factors, including abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance. These factors increase an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes (Pal et al., 90). Studies show that individuals who are most at risk for these conditions consume less fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, compared to healthier counterparts. Epidemiological evidence indicates that a diet high in fiber is correlated with a lower BMI and lower incidence of hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Dietary fiber can be described as an “edible component of all plants and as being resistant to digestion and absorption in the gut” (Pal et al., 90). It is usually partially or completely fermented in the large intestine. Two main groups of dietary fiber exist: water soluble and non-soluble. Presently, it is recommended that adults in both Australia and the US consume 25-30 grams per day of fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains (Pal et al., 90).

The aim of this study was to investigate whether 12 weeks of additional dietary fiber intake in the form of either a healthy diet or a dietary fiber supplement, or a combination of both would induce and sustain improvements in metabolic syndrome risk factors. These include fasting lipids, glucose, insulin, and body composition in overweight and obese individuals (Pal et al., 91).

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