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Prebiotic Fibre May Help Curb Hunger and Decrease Inflammation

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that fibre supplements derived from pulses may help improve appetite, reduce food intake, and lower inflammation in adults who are overweight. For the study, researchers divided 88 overweight adults into groups receiving 6, 12, or 18 grams of fibre, or a placebo, for 14 days. The pulse fibre was a prebiotic—a type of fibre that can be fermented by probiotic bacteria in the gut. Researchers measured the participants’ appetite levels, food intake (in the form of a test meal and a 24 hour dietary recall), and inflammatory markers immediately before and after the 14-day treatment period on day zero and on day fifteen. Here's what they found:

  • The fibre groups experienced a statistically significant decrease in appetite, food intake, and inflammatory markers.
  • The relationship between the fibre supplement and these outcomes was generally dose-dependent, meaning more fibre led to more positive results.
  • The fibre stimulated a statistically significant growth of bifidobacteria—a type of probiotic—as compared with the control group.

The researchers speculated that the positive changes observed in the fibre groups were largely due to a change in the functioning of gut bacteria. The findings are consistent with another study that came to a very similar conclusion, namely that prebiotic fibre can help increase bifidobacteria and reduce inflammation in children who are overweight. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the study’s lead author declared a potential conflict of interest—they're employed by a company that extracts food fibre from vegetables.

Source: Journal of Nutrition

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