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Soluble Fiber May Improve Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms

A recent study suggests that a daily supplement of partially hydrolyzed guar gum (a soluble fiber) may improve risk factors of metabolic syndrome and lead to smaller waistlines in people with type-2 diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as having at least three of the following risk factors: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high triglycerides. It is on the rise in the US and puts people at higher risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

The study included 44 individuals with type-2 diabetes and an average age of 62. Over the course of six weeks, half of the group followed their regular diet while the other half supplemented their regular diet with 10 grams of guar gum daily.

At the conclusion of the study, the supplement group showed an average decrease in waist circumference of half an inch. Additionally, levels of HbA1c (a marker of excess glucose in the blood) decreased by 0.31% and trans-fatty acid levels decreased from 71 to 57 mg/l.

The only change seen in the control group was a slight decrease in weight.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. It was published on April 3, 2013, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have linked fiber consumption with lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, regulating blood sugar for people with diabetes and breast cancer prevention.

Soluble fiber can be found naturally in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole wheat and grains, brown rice, fruit, broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy vegetables.

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