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Mystery Unlocked: How Fiber Curbs Hunger


calorie restriction While the medical community has long known that dietary fiber suppresses appetite, exactly how this happens has been a mystery. Now that the secret is unlocked, it could lead to the development of a hunger-curbing pill. However, is the quick fix of a pill the best way to prevent obesity? Could there be a better approach?

Fiber Waste Product Tells Brain to Stop Eating

In the study published in Nature Communications, scientists found that when bacteria in the colon digest fiber, it ferments and produces large quantities of a substance called acetate as a waste product. After tracking the pathway of acetate as it traveled through the body, they uncovered how fiber can control over-eating and help with weight control.

Researchers fed mice a high-fat diet that had been mixed with a type of fiber called inulin. The results showed the mice that consumed the inulin ate less and gained less weight than the control group of mice that consumed no inulin. Additionally, the inulin group of mice had a high level of acetate in their intestines. In following the route of acetate, its ultimate destination proved to be the hypothalamus of the brain, a region associated with appetite control. Further examination showed the accumulation of acetate triggered chemical events culminating in the suppression of hunger.

The second phase of the study solidified the results. After acetate was injected into the bloodstream, colon or brain, the mice ate less food.

Hunger-Curbing Pill May Be on the Way

In researching the effects of food, the intent of some scientists is to develop a pharmaceutical product that will duplicate its benefits. The discovery of the effects of fiber is thought to be the breakthrough that could lead to the development of a pill that turns off hunger. Yet Frost says various challenges must be overcome before making a formulation that is both effective and safe.

A Better Approach

Although dietary fiber is found in low levels in processed food, it is found in high levels in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Lead author Gary Frost pointed out that in the Stone Age, people consumed approximately 100 grams of fiber in the diet per day, but today the average European diet contains only 15 grams of fiber. He explains that our digestive system hasn’t evolved to cope with the modern diet, so the consequence is an obesity epidemic.

A perfectly safe and effective option to a pill is simply to consume much more fibrous foods. No advantage of any potion can compare to the multiple benefits of eating a healthful diet. Foods high in fiber not only help in weight control but their nutrient-dense nature also offers a host of health advantages that go far beyond avoiding obesity.

An appetite pill would only address one facet of health, while eating foods that are high in fiber would address every aspect of physical, mental and emotional wellness. For example, carrots improve vision, strawberries reduce cholesterol and cruciferous vegetables fight cancer while cucumbers alleviate depression and celery reduces blood pressure. These are only a few illustrations of the disease-fighting and health promoting properties wrapped up in fibrous foods.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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