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Chitosan or Fiber - Weight Loss Promoters?

Chitosan is a fiber supplement that is marketed as being
able to "trap" the fat in your diet. It is said to help
you lose weight by binding to the fat in your diet and
passing it out in your stool. In theory, it helps you
avoid fat calories.

Chitosan is an indigestible fiber refined from chitin- the
tough, horny substance that forms the outer shell of
shrimp, lobster, and crab. According to a study published
in 1999 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, no
significant differences in body weight was observed among
volunteers who took chitosan for 28 days versus those who
took a placebo.

In other words, if it sounds too good to be true, it
probably is. Do not look to this supplement to help you
in your weight loss efforts.

In regards to the fiber found in food or supplements
performing the fat trapping effect, all I can say again is
do not count on it. Any healthy diet should include foods
that are high in fiber. The recommended amount is 20 to
35 grams per day.

There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber tends to hold water thus turning to gel
during digestion. This slows the down the rate of
digestion in the stomach and intestine. Insoluble fiber
does not hold water or dissolve in water. It is the type
of fiber associated with "roughage". Insoluble fiber aids
digestion and helps promote regularity.

The known health benefits associated with a diet high in
fiber as recognized by the American Dietetic Association
include the following:

* Soluble fiber is known to slow the rate of digestion and
blood sugar absorption, and decrease cholesterol levels.

* In the digestive tract, both soluble and insoluble fibers
can "normalize" bowel function by effecting transit time
and nutrient absorption.

* Fiber plays both a therapeutic and preventive role in
the treatment of constipation.

* Clinical evidence suggests dietary fiber may have a role
in improving blood sugar control in individuals with
diabetes.

* Soluble fiber may delay blood sugar absorption and
reduce insulin needs in both insulin and non-insulin
dependent persons with diabetes.

* Soluble fiber has been shown to improve blood sugar
levels and cholesterol levels.

Notice that the claim for weight loss is not mentioned.
However, the addition of fiber to your diet will help you
feel "full". This alone may help you in your weight loss
efforts.

Foods high in fiber include whole grain products such as
oatmeal and barley as well as whole wheat breads and
pasta. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes are also
great sources. You may take fiber supplements but if your
diet includes several servings from the above mentioned
foods, they simply are not necessary.

Contact information: Dennis B. Weis
Email: yukonherc@kpunet.net
Website: www.dennisbweis.com

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