Fiber supplements are the type of dietary fiber which is being widely used. It is available in powders, capsules, and tablets. Mostly, it is beneficial for digestive tract where it can help with bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation and some other issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, prevention of a colon cancer, etc. It should be taken in a moderate level since there are some side effects. Therefore, there is a saying “the dose makes the poison”. Other than digestive effects, it can affect cholesterol, sugar levels, and weight. It can lower the cholesterol, help you maintain sugar levels and decrease the appetite in between the meals, therefore, reducing the food intake and help you lose weight. Two fiber supplements which are the most used in the USA are Benefiber and Metamucil. What are the differences?
Benefiber vs. Metamucil
They are very similar in function but have some differences in the ingredient section. If you are allergic to gluten, stay away from Benefiber since it has a gluten ingredient into it. On the other hand, Metamucil has other substance which can also cause an allergic reaction called psyllium. Read more to inform yourself.
Benefiber is a supplement which has a fiber made out of wheat starch or wheat dextrin. It is a soluble fiber which after mixing with water resolves and it is good for your health.
Metamucil has the same benefits but is made out of psyllium fiber which creates a water soluble mixture.
Similarities and Differences
The main difference between these two fiber supplements is the fiber inside the product. The Benefiber has a wheat dextrin and Metamucil has the psyllium seeds. They both act as a laxative which goes through the intestine and prevents constipation events. That way, coming through the intestine, it expands making the stool softer since it’s filled with water. It affects the bowel lining in a way where it stimulates the nerve activation which will result in a bowel movement and protrusion of the stool.
They have both benefits, but can act on different body processes. Metamucil has better effects in constipation relief where it acts as an absorber and traps the fluid, making a paste-like texture which makes the stool easily excreted. Benefiber does not form a thick texture, therefore, it acts a bit different as regards to constipation. Since Metamucil has the absorbent power, it acts the same with carbohydrates and cholesterol, where it lowers down the concentration, and it reduces the risk of a heart disease and diabetes. Benefiber will act well if you are taking any medications besides having fiber supplement since it doesn’t act as an absorbent, it will not reduce its function and will not interfere with the effects of the drug.
Potential Side Effects
Even if these fiber supplements are good for your health, they can have some side effect which can be diarrhea, gas production and bloat of the stomach. This happens when the extra fiber quantity gets into the stomach, it can produce a bowel movement. You should drink a large amount of water to avoid these side effects. Benefiber can cause an allergic reaction if you have a celiac’s disease so you should avoid it if you’re gluten intolerant. Metamucil can cause diarrhea, vomiting, cramping or even constipation. It can occur if you abuse the fiber supplement intake, which will reduce the natural bowel movement and rectum reflex which activates when the stool enters the rectum region. It produces bowel circular movement which will give the notion that you need to defecate. If this happens, you can have constipation for over a week, and you will have to reactivate the defecation reflex by slowly waiting for the moment to come and patiently trying to get used to the defecation routine. This can also occur in coffee abuse, which also acts as a laxative.
Both fiber supplements can be a good thing and be beneficial for your body if you moderate the intake and take precaution about the quantity you’re taking. If you’re experiencing any of these side effects, you should contact your doctor for a proper treatment and you should stop with fiber supplement consumption.