A downside of using Metamucil for weight loss
Metamucil has only one real downside when it comes to losing weight or managing it. As a fiber supplement, Metamucil is exceptional. It is a great way to add needed fiber to your diet.
One rounded tablespoon of Metamucil with real sugar provides 3 grams of dietary fiber. The recommended use is generally one rounded tablespoon up to three times a day, which would provide approximately 9 grams of dietary fiber to the diet. For appetite control, the recommendation is 2 tablespoons before each meal. Assuming 3 meals, fiber intake can be up to 18 grams.
The FDA recommends 28 grams of dietary fiber per day. Used as an appetite control, Metamucil would only cover 18 grams of that. And the amount of fiber in the sugar-free version of Metamucil is the same as “with real sugar.”
Regarding its macronutrient content, Metamucil does not contain fat. However, it is not carbohydrate-free. Two tablespoons of Metamucil with real sugar contain 23 grams of carbohydrates of which the added sugars represent 16 grams. Two teaspoons of the unsweetened version have 10 grams of carbohydrates and zero added sugars.
Although Metamucil has versions made with Stevia and other variations, the two most popular seem to be Metamucil’s Real Sugar Orange Smooth Powder and its sugar-free version. And its popularity is a no-brainer to me. I love both products.
The taste reminds me of Tang. And I loved Tang growing up. It was the astronauts’ drink with a full day’s supply of vitamin C. What was not loving? With Metamucil, you would get the great taste of Tang with all the great benefits of fiber.
However, despite all the good things about Metamucil, it does have a real downside. That downside is sugar. Suppose one uses Metamucil as an appetite control supplement. Two tablespoons before each meal would add 69 grams of carbohydrates to the game, of which 48 grams would be added sugar. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s about the equivalent of a regular soda can. That is a lot of sugar.
Because if you use it to control your appetite, then weight is certainly a concern. While getting the extra 18 grams of dietary fiber is great, it comes at the cost of consuming 48 grams of sugar. And sugar has no nutritional value. In fact, you could even say that it has a negative nutritional value.
The other popular item is the sugar-free version. Without added sugar, it would seem to address the problem of all that added sugar. However, the actual sugar subtraction is replaced by the addition of aspartame. While the FDA has approved aspartame, its value is questionable to some in the weight loss community. There are a lot of people who drink diet sodas and are still very overweight.
The inference may be unfair for aspartame, but artificial sweeteners are to state the obvious: artificial. Now there also seems to be a variation of Stevia, but Metamucil Real Sugar Orange Smooth Powder still seems to be the most popular.
So the question becomes one of options. After all, if one wants to continue enjoying the benefits of Metamucil but is wary of all that added sugar or artificial sweeteners (except of course Stevia), then what are the options. Well, one option is to forgo the fiber supplement and focus on the fiber.
If your diet is rich in fibrous foods, then there would be no need for a supplement. An avocado has 6.7 grams of fiber. Apples, carrots, beets, strawberries, broccoli all register around 2 to 3 grams per serving. Blackberries and raspberries are in the five to six gram range. Beans and peas have between 7 and 9 grams. Chia seeds have a tremendous amount of fiber, about 10 grams per ounce!
Another option is to look at the ingredient list for Metamucil. It’s psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is the only source of fiber in Metamucil. Stripped of maltodextrin, citric acid, etc., all that’s left is psyllium husk.
One tablespoon of psyllium husk contains approximately 6.47 grams of fiber with zero sugars. One tablespoon of Metamucil Real Sugar Orange Smooth Powder provides approximately 3 grams with 8 grams of real sugar. Measure for measure, direct ingestion of psyllium husk provides a much higher return.
Still, in the rush of the day, it can be difficult to get all the fiber one needs from whole foods. And if appetite control is the problem, then surely a supplement like Metamucil would be a good fit. Also, the experience of drinking Psyllium mixed with water is much less enjoyable than drinking that wonderful Tang like Metamucil. In fact, psyllium husk doesn’t dissolve much in water. You just have to drink everything fast. Frankly, it’s just not nice.
For a dietary fiber supplement, Metamucil is a good choice. However, it must be recognized that it occurs at the expense of consuming a lot of sugar or consuming artificial sweeteners. And so when it comes to weight loss or weight management, the extra 48 grams of sugar and / or artificial sweeteners could be a deal breaker.
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention Metamucil as a supplement for digestive health, specifically to relieve constipation and promote regularity of bowel movements. In fact, my initial purpose in drinking Metamucil was to help with my bowel movements. Sugar and weight management, or loss, aside, I would highly recommend Metamucil for this reason alone. But, then this would be a topic for another article in itself.