Can Fiber Water Help You Lose Weight?
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The recommended daily serving of fiber for adults is somewhere between 25 and 38 grams, depending on age and gender. But the average American only consumes around 16 grams per day, according to the USDA.
Among the products maneuvering to close that gap, fiber water is a relative newcomer to the ever-growing wellness water market. Is liquid fiber the solution our guts need?
Can Fiber Water Help You Lose Weight?
Since launching in 2017, Hellowater, which is the only fiber-infused water readily available for sale in the U.S., has seen sales increase 250 percent, according to the company’s co-founder Rusty Jones. He asserts fiber is in high demand right now.
“There are 175,000 people per week searching for some type of fiber on Amazon,” he explains. From fiber supplements for weight loss to fiber supplements for kids, people are looking for new ways to incorporate this essential nutrient into their lifestyles.
Jones and co-founder Tom Bushkie, a certified nutritionist, developed Hellowater to meet what they saw as a white space in the beverage market. “We went to a food scientist with the idea of creating a high-fiber water in a ready-to-drink format that could act as an appetite suppressant,” says Jones. “This wasn’t something we developed in a sink or a bathtub.” In studies, high-fiber diets have been shown to help with weight loss.
“Fiber is a nutrient that aids with digestion and helps manage healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which is why we need it,” explains Jones. His larger goal in developing fiber water was to help individuals manage their weight and promote healthy blood sugar levels.
What Exactly Is in Fiber Water?
According to the label, a bottle of Hellowater delivers 5 grams of fiber per serving — or 20 percent of the recommended daily value of fiber based on 2,000-calorie diet. But with flavors like pineapple coconut and cucumber lime, is fiber water just a millennial spin on your grandma’s Metamucil? Not exactly.
Similar to other wellness waters spiked with vitamins and minerals, fiber water is infused with soluble fiber, or more specifically inulin derived from chicory root, along with natural flavors and sweeteners. Unlike traditional fiber supplements you mix into water, it’s clear, not gritty, and only contains soluble fiber. All in all, the composition is roughly 98 percent water and 2 percent inulin, according to Jones.
There are two main types of dietary fiber: soluble fiber, which helps you feel full longer, aids in managing healthy cholesterol levels, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels; and insoluble fiber, which is mostly responsible for adding bulk to your stool and keeping you regular. Your body needs both to aid in proper digestion.
Is Fiber Water Good For You?
If most of us could use more water and more fiber in our lives, then putting them together in a fiber drink seems like the ultimate win-win. “People are trying to find other ways to get their fiber in,” says Kristi King, MPH, RDN, LD, CNSC, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Fiber water could be one way of doing that, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it shouldn’t be your primary source of fiber.”
To put it into perspective, a bottle of Hellowater has about the same amount of fiber as an apple. However, when you eat an apple with its peel, you’re getting soluble andinsoluble fiber, as well as important antioxidants like vitamin C and minerals like potassium, explains King.
Should You Have Fiber and Water Together?
That said, drinking water with any high-fiber diet is important. “Even if you’re eating a cup of carrots, it’s important to have adequate fluids over the course of the day,” says King. “Fluids help move things through the system and if you’re eating a high-fiber diet, not staying hydrated could cause discomfort in the GI system or gassiness.”
She also cautions that when you increase the amount of fiber you consume, it’s important to do so incrementally. Meaning downing several Hellowaters or an entire bag of mini carrots to double your fiber intake overnight could pose a shock to your system — and any coworkers sitting nearby.
Like other wellness waters, Hellowater also has flavors and sweeteners, such as stevia and erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol. “Sugar alcohol and inulin are both things that make some people gassy,” explains Denis Faye, executive director of nutrition for Openfit. Whether or not the combination in Hellowater will make you toot really depends on your specific microbiome, which is as distinct as your fingerprint.