What Is Metamucil
People don’t always get the fiber they need for their bodies. This is mostly because of many people a lot of processed foods which don’t contain much fiber. A good example would be white bread, which is a popular choice over whole grain bread and contains less fiber than the alternative as well or choosing fruit-based products instead of real fruit. A healthy balanced diet includes fiber-rich foods.
Fiber is important because it helps the digestive system work properly and smoothly but there is more than just the digestive system that is affected when the body has less fiber. Metamucil Fiber Supplements are a wide range of supplements that cater to every need when it comes to getting enough fiber. This review aims to educate you on the importance of fiber and whether Metamucil is a good choice to helps supplement your daily fiber needs.
Metamucil is a line of dietary fiber supplements that claim to use 100% psyllium husk as the primary active source of fiber in the supplement. It usually also contains vitamins and minerals. It is meant to help maintain intestinal health, promote regularity in the bathroom and help users feel full. Having been around since 1934, Metamucil is easily one of the best known dietary fiber supplements in the market. It contains some natural ingredients, prime of which is psyllium husk and comes in a variety of products such as powders, capsules, wafers, and bars. The products come in a variety of flavors and include sugar-free versions.
Metamucil uses just one ingredient to perform as an effective fiber supplement – 100% natural psyllium husk. All other ingredients in Metamucil products are there for flavoring, color, shelf life and other reasons that help with the palatability of the products.
Metamucil works by providing your body with psyllium husk as a source of fiber. When the fiber enters the stomach it thickens and helps absorb some sugars and carbohydrates. As it moves on, the absorbed sugars and carbs in the fiber are slowly reabsorbed in the body to help maintain healthy sugar levels. Once it finally ends up in the large intestine along with other waste. Since the fiber doesn’t really get digested, it keeps its thick form and this helps with the regular passing of stools.
Metamucil is often recommended as a laxative that can help with irritable bowel syndrome as well as an effective remedy for constipation.
Who makes Metamucil?
The Metamucil brand has been around since 1934, making it one of the oldest and longest available dietary fiber supplement in the market. It was owned originally by G.D Searle & company, in 1985 it was acquired by Proctor and Gamble and is a well-recognized brand in the P & G product family.
Metamucil is very commonly recommended by doctors as a natural source of fiber to help treat ailments related to lack of fiber.
Importance of Fiber and Common Ingredients in Metamucil
Going into a little more detail about just how vital fiber is for the body, let’s first take a look at the list of positive effects from maintaining a regular intake of fiber:
- Helps reduce high cholesterol – High fiber foods are great to help people with cholesterol issues because fiber doesn’t break down in the body, and because it mostly passes through the body as it is, cholesterol clings to it as it passes and later is excreted by the body as a normal healthy stool
- Satiety – Fiber helps you feel full for longer. Including a healthy intake of fiber can help with weight loss. Since it doesn’t get digested like other nutrients and breaks down slowly it helps keep the body feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time.
- Controlling blood sugar – Like cholesterol, excess sugar also gets absorbed by fiber while it passes through the digestive system and promotes a slow, healthy, controlled reabsorption of sugar in the body so as to avoid spikes in blood sugar.
Psyllium Husk is the main active ingredient which is a fiber source in Metamucil. Psyllium husk is water soluble. Metamucil offers a variety of flavored powders that use this feature for smooth fiber-rich drinks.
Psyllium husk is plant based and is commonly known as a bulk-forming laxative. Bulk-forming, in this case, means that it absorbs water when it first enters the stomach and becomes a vicious, almost gel-like substance.
It offers advantages outside of its main use as a laxative. As mentioned above, psyllium husk is a great fiber that helps regulate blood sugar, reduce cholesterol and keep the body feeling full longer. In addition to all this, it is also an effective and proven remedy for constipation and other issues that concern the large intestine.
Most other ingredients in Metamucil are inactive and are present for various reasons like flavoring, color, texture, binding or preservation. Common ingredients other than psyllium husk include – FD&C Yellow No.6, citric acid, sucrose, etc. Aspartame is the artificial sweetener that the sugar-free variants use.
Advantages of Metamucil
This product does have some mixed reviews but it most likely isn’t because the natural fiber in the product doesn’t work. Metamucil includes a completely natural source of fiber and that’s definitely something to be happy about.
The body on an average needs about 30 – 38 grams of fiber per day for men and 25 grams of fiber for women on a daily basis. Metamucil has a wide range of products to help address this need in a pleasant way. If your diet isn’t rich in fiber, adding a fiber-rich drink, or tablet or fiber wafer, etc. might be a great solution. There are sugar-free options available.
Metamucil fiber supplements provide the following benefits:
- Relief from constipation
- Reducing bad cholesterol
- Regulating blood sugar
- Maintaining full feeling.
Metamucil products offer correct recommended dosages of fiber so that you don’t end up taking to litter (no effect) or too much (unfortunate side effects). The product line is also fairly affordable and there are various products at various price points that cater to each individual’s needs.
Things to watch out for
While this is a product that will probably work for most people there are definitely some things to keep in mind before buying it and during use.
For people who are looking at fiber supplements as a quick fix for weight loss will probably be disappointed. While fiber can assist weight loss, unless it is used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, you won’t notice much difference.
Metamucil’s active ingredient is commonly known as a laxative, which can mean losing out on some nutrients and minerals. The laxative nature means that it is meant to help expel waste faster, when this happens you could lose some nutrients in the process. It is important to include a variety of fibers to get the best benefits.
Many consumers complained about the taste and flavor of Metamucil. The regular powdered version also includes a fair amount of sugar. The high amounts of artificial flavorings and colors don’t really help. While fiber itself could help assist weight loss when combined with other factors, Metamucil’s sugar-loaded version probably will not help at all. In fact, Aspartame which is used in the sugar-free version also does not seem to be a good alternative. The too sweet flavor of the sugar alternative had many users reporting dissatisfaction.
For some people, psyllium husk can cause more gastric issues that solve them. Since it is a natural ingredient there are risks of sensitivity and allergic reaction to being taken into consideration. Many people with whom psyllium husk did not agree, or other ingredients, noticed more gastric issues, bloating and stomach pain.
It is important to take close note of all active and inactive ingredients, to avoid allergic reactions. If you are on medication for any medical conditions, it might be wise to consult your doctor before you start taking Metamucil, specifically in the cases of blood pressure and cholesterol treatment programs.
Metamucil has a fantastic product like that helps increase fiber intake and solve problems like constipation. There are other wonderful benefits to Metamucil but they aren’t specific to just Metamucil. There are other fiber supplements on the market that include all natural products if you’re looking to avoid artificial ingredients.
While it might not be a good idea to rely on a supplement for your daily fiber needs, Metamucil is definitely a good place to start and with the wide range of choices, it’s easy to please most people looking for a convenient way of adding more fiber to their diet.
The affordability of and easy access to Metamucil’s range of products makes it a good choice, but remember to take your needs into consideration before making a choice.
Sol Ruiz heads our Research Digest department. He graduated from the New York University where he obtained his Master’s Degree in Public Health.