- What Is Fiber?
- How Can Fiber Supplements Help You Lose Weight?
- The 7 Best Fiber Supplements for Weight Loss
- Weight Loss Fiber Supplement Buying Guide
- The Bottom Line
We all need fiber in our diets. The reality is that some of us are doing a better job of getting natural fiber sources from our diets than others. However, getting enough fiber in your diet is hard even when you're eating a balanced meal plan. That's precisely why fiber supplements are so popular.
As a dietician, I bring up fiber supplements often with my clients. I find that many people know very little about the importance of fiber when it comes to everything from maintaining a healthy weight to helping gut flora to flourish. Take a look at what you should know about fiber, fiber supplements, and how to choose the best fiber supplement product.
What Is Fiber?
Fiber refers to portions of plant-derived foods that human digestive enzymes can't fully digest. You might sometimes hear it referred to as “roughage.” While the other carbohydrates we consume get broken down into digestible molecules by the digestive system, the fiber we consume passes through the intestinal tract relatively intact.
We need fiber because it helps with proper digestion. Fiber is also linked with health and longevity. What's more, several studies confirm a link between fiber consumption and lower cancer risks. Pooled data from 20 previous studies found that women who consumed the highest amounts of fiber were 8% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who consumed the least. Another study found that dietary fiber has a positive impact on a long list of gastrointestinal disorders that includes colorectal ulcers, hiatal hernias, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diverticular disease, and hemorrhoids.
One of the other big benefits of fiber is that it can slow down the body's absorption of sugar. This is important because it means that having enough fiber in your diet can ultimately help to prevent blood sugar spikes following meals that can put you at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Insoluble Fiber vs Soluble Fiber
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Both offer unique benefits.
- When you consume soluble fiber, it turns into a gel-like substance in your stomach that is later broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. Soluble fiber has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. It also slows down the absorption of carbohydrates to help prevent spikes in blood sugar.
- When you consume insoluble fiber, it passes through the gastrointestinal mostly intact. The benefit of insoluble fiber is that it helps to create smoother stools.
How Can Fiber Supplements Help You Lose Weight?
Fiber isn't intended to be a weight loss supplement. However, one of the positive side effects of consuming enough fiber is that fiber does help many people to regulate their weight. A 2019 study shows that fiber intake predicts weight loss and dietary adherence in adults consuming calorie-restricted diets.
One of the ways that a fiber supplement can help a person to lose weight is by allowing them to feel fuller longer after meals. This can be important for reducing both snacking and overeating. In addition, we know that soluble fiber plays a key role in helping to increase good gut bacteria. Getting the gut back in balance can be so important for controlling blood sugar, boosting the immune system, and supporting brain function. Many people find that the added vitality and energy they get from getting the gut back in balance helps them to avoid the chronic overeating that we often do when we feel fatigued.
The 7 Best Fiber Supplements for Weight Loss
Finding a great fiber supplement is easier than ever! However, not every product that you'll find on the shelf offers ideal forms of fiber for optimal health. I'll help you cut through the confusion using these reviews of the top fiber supplements I've been able to find while doing research for my own clients.
#1. Colon Broom
Colon Broom is a great product for people who are suffering with “sluggish” digestion that's leaving them feeling bloated, heavy, and tired. I consider it a top pick if you're dealing with chronic constipation that is stealing the lightness from your step.
Colon Broom uses psyllium husk (learn more) as its core fiber ingredients. When psyllium husk absorbs water, it becomes a viscous compound that can provide benefits tied to relieving constipation, stopping diarrhea, regulating blood pressure, and promoting weight loss.
What makes me like Colon Broom over other options out there is that it comes in a powder that allows you to make enjoyable “fiber drinks.” These drinks create a real “detox” feel. In addition, I like that taking your daily fiber gives you a reason to drink a whole cup of water. This fiber powder contains only natural flavor, citric acid, crystallized lemon (citric acid, lemon oil, lemon juice), stevia leaf extract, sea salt, fruit and vegetable juice for color, and rice hulls.
- Powder is easy to use.
- Taste is pleasant.
- A great choice if you always feel bloated.
- Tons of positive reviews.
- Price is reasonable.
- Savings when you subscribe.
- Vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO products.
- It does contain extra ingredients and sweeteners that “flavorless” options don't.
Not a day goes by without speaking to my clients about the importance of prebiotics. While most people have heard of the benefits of probiotics for building up healthy gut bacteria, most don't know about prebiotics. Prebiotics are actually natural fiber sources that feed your healthy gut bacteria. They're important because they help you to build up a healthy gut flora without just relying on using probiotics to repopulate your gut with the good stuff. That's why I love recommending a product like Rise.
This vegan, plant-based product nourishes the gut while offering 10 calories, 6 g of carbohydrates, and 4 g of dietary fiber. In addition to a proprietary blend, this formula also includes guar gum, xylooligosaccharide, baobab, and acacia. While I don't have time to get into a full lesson on all of these fascinating compounds, I'll share that xylooligosaccharide is known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects. Baobab and acacia are proven to work together to balance the gut's microflora.
- Nourishes the gut with prebiotics for long-term, sustained gut health.
- Easy powder form.
- Zero fillers or additives.
- A non-GMO product that's free of eggs, dairy, soy, tree nuts, or gluten.
- There's a need to be patient with this product because results could take up to six months.
- You'll probably need to take a separate probiotic product to get the best results.
I really like this product as an all-around fiber supplement that fits easily into daily life. I also personally like being able to recommend a product that comes in a variety of different flavors because my experience with any type of powder supplement is that finding the right taste helps you to be consistent. 1st Phorm Multi-Fiber comes in mango pineapple, mixed berry, chocolate, and vanilla. There's also an unflavored option for people who don't tolerate flavors well.
This brand uses soluble corn fiber, psyllium husk, and inulin as its natural fiber sources. Each sugar-free serving contains 20 calories, 20 g of fiber, and 9 g of carbohydrates. While the ingredients vary just slightly by flavor, each option contains a short ingredient list that includes stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract, and silicone dioxide.
- Great flavor selection.
- Clean ingredient list.
- Uses natural, ultra-clean fiber sources.
- Price is reasonable.
- Savings when you subscribe.
- Tons of positive reviews.
- While inulin is considered very easily tolerated by most, it can cause more bloating and gas than other forms of fiber.
I didn't want to just focus on powders even though I love the way fiber “drinks” encourage some extra hydration during your daily ritual. I know some of you are just too busy to have to worry about blending mixes. That's why I was so thrilled when I found these tasty prebiotic fiber gummies from Opositiv. You may have heard of the GOGOG lineup already due to its popular gummy products for PMS, menopause, and more.
I want to mention that you still need to drink a whole glass of water when you take your two gummies every day! What I like about Opositiv's prebiotic gummies is that they contain chicory root as the fiber source. A member of the dandelion family, chicory root is one of those old-time medicinal herbs that people have been using for thousands of years.
Each serving of Opositiv GOGO Prebiotic Fiber Gummies contains 15 calories, 5 g of carbohydrates, 3 g of dietary fiber, and 2 g of sugar. The ultra-natural ingredient list includes chicory root fiber, organic cane sugar, annatto extract, citric acid, carnauba wax, coconut oil, corn starch, pectin, and sodium citrate.
- Savings when you subscribe.
- You can easily bundle these fiber gummies with other GOGO options.
- This is a vegan-friendly, gluten-free, non-GMO, and cruelty-free product.
- You'll need to ask your doctor about taking this supplement if you have allergies to inulin, ragweed, or birch pollen.
This is a premium fiber supplement with a price that's around double compared to the suggestions I've reviewed so far. Is it worth it? The answer really depends on your goals.
This rare formula uses arabinogalactan that's extracted from the larch tree to specifically promote the growth of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria in the gut. These are two very important probiotic strains. First, Lactobacilli actually helps to increase the expression of the genes in the intestines that are responsible for immune response. Bifidobacteria has been shown to help regulate diarrhea, constipation, and other intestinal disorders.
I think that this can be a good fiber supplement if you're in a place where you're really struggling with your health in a way that appears to be tied to your gut flora being “a wreck.” For instance, you might be constantly getting sick, feeling tired, or having gastrointestinal issues after ruling out a serious illness.
- Uses arabinogalactan to promote the growth of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
- Supports the immune system.
- Zuma Nutrition publishes its results for purity testing.
- No wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts, or tree nuts.
- Costs much more than ordinary fiber supplements.
This is another premium option that costs around three times what the basic fiber supplements on my review list cost. However, you can get the price slash significantly by subscribing.
Each serving of Gundry MD PrebioThrive Digestive Support contains 30 calories, 8 g of carbohydrates, and 4 g of dietary fiber. What compels me to recommend this pricier fiber supplement is that it contains five fiber-rich prebiotic ingredients instead of one. I like this approach because it can be hard to pin down exactly what we're missing from our diets. When we choose a supplement offering a variety of natural fiber sources, we're more likely to hit the mark. Varied fiber sources also help to feed different types of healthy gut probiotics.
This particular fiber supplement blends ultra-dense acacia gum, naturally sweet agave inulin, omega-3-rich flaxseed, bowel-supporting galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), and guar gum. You're getting all of that using one easy-to-blend powder instead of taking multiple supplements.
- Free of soy, sugar, lectin, and artificial sweeteners.
- Every batch is formulated at CGMP-certified facility in the United States.
- Batches are third-party tested for content, purity, and dosage.
- Great blend of natural prebiotic powerhouse.
- A pricey option if you choose not to subscribe.
While my reviews have been focused on general fiber supplements for wellness up until this point, I wanted to add a product that's specifically focused on people trying to use fiber to lose weight. This supplement is designed to offer support during fasting by tapping into the power of fiber to help you feel fuller longer.
First, I always recommend that you talk with your own doctor about fasting if this is something you're interested in trying. However, I do think that this can be a great product to use in conjunction with healthy and safe fasting practices for people who are ideal candidates.
DoFasting Essential Fiber Complex uses glucomannan and cellulose as its fiber sources. Glucomannan is credited with signaling “fullness” to the brain to allow the body to focus on fat burning instead of food cravings. Cellulose helps to cleanse the colon, improve digestion, and allow your body to focus on fat burning.
The ultra-clean ingredient list for this supplement contains microcrystalline cellulose, citric acid, stevia leaf extract, sea salt, fruit and vegetable juice for coloring, and rice hulls. Each serving contains 10 calories, 3 g of dietary fiber, and 3 g carbohydrates.
- Nice mix of soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Free of sugar.
- Price is very reasonable for the quality!
- Not intended to replace a daily fiber supplement.
Weight Loss Fiber Supplement Buying Guide
There's no need to feel overwhelmed! If you're still on the fence about which fiber supplement offers what you need, take a look at the deeper questions to ask.
What to Look For
There's an easy way to get through every fiber supplement label to find what you need. You won't go wrong if you focus on the core categories below.
If you're looking for a fiber supplement because you're struggling with constipation and bloating, focus on supplements with insoluble fiber because this is the fiber type that helps to speed up bowel movements. Soluble fiber can often be better for diarrhea. However, products that can contain both can be great when the goal is simply to build up your gut flora to have more healthy bacteria.
No Added Sugar
Many people don't realize that bad gut bacteria will actually feed off of sugar. In fact, eating diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates and sugar is exactly how so many people get into trouble with unbalanced gut bacteria. I recommend staying away from fiber supplements that are sweetened to be just like candy.
It's important to be an informed consumer whenever you're purchasing a supplement because going with an unvetted product can leave you ill. A good fiber brand will always post the ingredients and dosages right on the label! In addition, I love to see proof of purity testing and third-party testing.
High Quality Ingredients
One thing you'll notice when looking at my review list of the best fiber supplements above is that the brands I chose all offer pristine ingredients. Not all fiber sources are created the same. I encourage you to go back to review the high-quality fiber sources offered by the products above to see how they will interact with your body to create the best results possible without hard side effects.
You never want to focus on a product that simply bulks up its products with cheap fiber sources. This can leave you doubled over in pain. The key is to find fiber products that use natural, gentle, high-quality fiber sources that actually help to build up healthy gut flora instead of simply triggering bowel movements. Always keep in mind that fiber supplements are not supposed to act like laxatives! While some changes in bowel movements and digestion are normal, you should stop using a fiber supplement if it's causing abdominal pain.
Success Stories from Real Customers
My belief as a dietician is that finding real-world reviews from actual users is important whenever you're shopping for a supplement of any kind. This is the true test of how a product interacts with the human body. Some points to look for when skimming reviews include side effects, effectiveness, how long it takes for a product to work, and how enjoyable a product tastes.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should be feeling a bit like a fiber expert by now! Let's speed through some of the frequently asked questions that my clients often have when we're talking about taking fiber supplements.
Does taking fiber supplements help you lose weight?
While weight loss isn't intended to be the primary goal of taking fiber supplements, multiple studies show that taking recommended daily values of fiber can help with weight management. Fiber helps to signal “fullness” to the brain to reduce cravings. It also helps to alleviate bloating.
Does fiber help you lose belly fat?
Yes, fiber can help some people to lose belly fat. This mostly has to do with the fact that fiber helps with healthy weight management throughout the body. In addition, fiber helps with bloating that is often concentrated in the belly area.
Which fiber is best for weight loss?
Soluble fiber is generally considered more effective for weight loss because it helps to trigger the release of “satiety” hormones that can reduce the urge to snack and overeat.
Does fiber increase metabolism?
According to at least one study, increasing levels of dietary fiber may contribute a non–pharmacological way to improve carbohydrate metabolism. Proper fiber intake can also boost overall health and energy levels to help activate the body's fat-burning capabilities.
Is it safe to take a fiber supplement daily?
There's no evidence that taking fiber supplements daily is harmful. However, a conversation with your doctor is always recommended.
The Bottom Line
You need to make sure you're getting enough fiber! Yes, fiber can certainly help you to reach your goals with weight loss. However, it's deeper than that. Fiber supplements may help to regulate blood sugar, prevent some cancers, boost your immune system, and increase overall vitality. You're probably already low on fiber if you're bloated, backed up, or fatigued. It may be time to see how much better you can feel by adding fiber to your day.
Tips for Success from the RD
I always recommend getting as much of your recommended daily fiber intake from natural foods as possible. That mostly means fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Don't assume that a fiber supplement is going to give you the results you want if you're simply ending your day with a fiber drink or gummy after meals full of processed foods. However, a supplement that's added to a balanced diet can truly feel like a total health edit!
Is a fiber supplement worth it for weight loss?
Yes, a good fiber supplement can be very effective for helping with weight loss goals when it's paired with healthy lifestyle choices, which includes regular exercise and healthy eating habits.