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​Fibre helps keep the weight off

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Fibre helps keep the weight off

By Contributor

Cutting calories is a known way to lose weight, but research on mice has found that consuming more soluble fibre may also help keep the weight off.

Keep the weight off

While consuming excess calories is a direct cause of weight gain, low-grade inflammation due to an altered gut microbiome may also be involved.

A new study in mice has found that a diet missing soluble fibre promotes inflammation in the intestines and poor gut health, leading to the mice gaining weight.

The good news is that incorporating soluble fibre back into the diet can restore their gut health.

Go with the gut

Gut microbiota is a community of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in the intestines. The gut microbiota has an important role in maintaining intestinal health and functions, helping the body digest food, producing vitamins and fighting foreign microorganisms.

Changes to the gut microbiota have been linked to the development of gastrointestinal diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, and metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Focus on fibre

A Georgia State University research team examined the effects of diets varying in amounts of soluble and insoluble fibres, protein and fat on the structure of the intestines, fat accumulation and weight gain in mice. Key observations are:

Mice on a diet lacking soluble fibre gained weight and had more fat compared with mice on a diet that included soluble fibre.

The intestines of mice on the soluble fibre deficient diet were also shorter and had thinner walls. These structural changes were observed as soon as two days after starting the diet.

Introducing soluble fibre into the diet restored the gut structure.

Supplementing with soluble fibre inulin restored the intestinal structure in mice on the soluble fibre deficient diet.

Mice that received cellulose, an insoluble fibre, however, did not show improvements.

Moreover, in mice fed a high-fat diet, switching the type of fibre from insoluble to soluble protected the mice from the fat accumulation and intestinal wasting that occurs with excess fat consumption.