Written by Joe Suppes

Beta Glucans

The soluble fiber from oats, which is mostly oat beta glucan, can be beneficial for someone looking to achieve healthy weight.  It has many properties that contribute to maintaining and achieving healthy weight loss goals.

The Benefits are Numerous

Because it’s a fiber, it can increase the feeling of fullness when taken with a meal.  Fiber is the last nutrient to breakdown in the digetstive tract, which can extend the feeling of satiety.  Fiber has also been shown in studies to increase a hormone that makes us feel full called CCK (cholecystokinin).  This pretty much translates into:  fiber makes you eat less.

Keeping an Internal Balance

Because it is viscous it can slow the emptying of food from the stomach.  This slow down decreases the rate at which sugar is absorbed, thereby having a positive effect on blood sugar levels.  When sugar levels are high in the blood stream insulin is released.  Insulin causes the sugar in the blood to push into the cells.  Fats also get pushed into the cells, which increases chances of weight-gain.  When there is a large release of insulin we also can have a fast dip in blood sugar, which can cause fatigue and hunger.  A good example of this cause-and-effect is eating a candy bar.  You eat that snack and your blood sugar rises very high.  To counteract it, insulin is released.  The insulin causes the sugars and fats to stay in your body, and your blood sugar to crash.  It is also believed that slowing down the absorption of sugars can affect how much is eaten at the following meal.

The Wonder of Fiber

One of the ways oat beta glucan is able to lower cholesterol is by binding to fat in the digestive tract and carrying it out of the body.  It also carries other calories out of the body as well.   In her Fiber35 Diet Brenda Watson calls this effect of the “fiber flush effect”.  The USDA and others have confirmed this effect.

Obviously, fiber is a good thing.  Everyone should eat a little more fiber.  Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that America is going to change its eating habits as a whole.  Every person who takes up healthy eating practices, including an increase in fiber, is a success story.

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