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The Role of Fiber in Appetite Control

Posted by Brad Dennis, Ph.D. on

The Role of Fiber in Appetite Control

Appetite Control and the Obesity Epidemic

The affluence of food and changes in dietary habits, like eating a high-sugar diet and frequent snacking, are probably most important contributors to the global obesity epidemic.  One study identified around 21% of obese individuals were found to be habitual snackers.

Other than burning more calories through regular exercise, controlling appetite seems to be one of the logical options for reducing caloric intake and subsequent weight loss. The more you feel full after eating a food and for longer, the lesser likely you are to eat more in the subsequent meals or snacks between your regular meals.

Fiber and Satiety

A high fiber diet is an effective tool for promoting satiety. Traditionally, a very viscous prebiotic fiber for weight loss has been considered effective but has downsides to its use. First, due to its non-soluble nature, it is quite difficult to consume. If not taken with enough water it can be a choking hazard.  Second, the concentration of non-soluble fiber needed to produce significant appetite reducing effects is more than what you can practically add to your everyday diet.

As an alternative, many researchers have looked into the ability of guar fiber, popularly known as Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum (PHGG; Sunfiber®), to reduce appetite. Guar exerts its satiety-promoting effects by increasing the time taken for the food to leave your stomach (gastric emptying). It means that the food stays in your stomach for longer and makes you feel full for longer as a result. Another way guar works is by releasing a hormone from your gut called cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK signals your brain that you are now full and do not need to eat anymore.

Guar fiber has an upper hand over the traditionally used fiber due to a number of reasons. First, it is a near non-viscous and partially soluble fiber, which makes is easier to consume. Second, researchers have found that non-soluble fibers are better than many soluble fibers when it comes to appetite control. Third, the concentration of the guar needed to suppress appetite is far less compared to the non-soluble counterparts. The appetite suppressing effects of guar start at concentrations as low as 5 g/day, in comparison to the non-soluble fibers where you have to consume at least 20 grams fiber per day to see appreciable changes in appetite control.

Guar and other similar non-soluble fibers are a better alternative to the conventional fiber that can help you eat less and lose weight as a result.


Impact of snacking pattern on overweight and obesity risk in a cohort of 11-to 13-year-old adolescents.

Role of guar fiber in appetite control. (Paywall)

Effects of amount and type of dietary fibre (soluble and insoluble) on short-term control of appetite.


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