Fiber supplements are a great way to improve your digestion, balance blood sugar and appetite, and even lose weight. One of the best known such supplements is Metamucil. If you’re doing intermittent fasting, you’re probably wondering “will Metamucil break my fast?”.
Metamucil’s main component is psyllium husk, which, on its own, does not break a fast. The problem usually comes from the fact that Metamucil has other ingredients, sweeteners, and flavors. It also has around 30-40 calories, depending on which version you’re using. While most of them come from soluble fiber, many intermittent fasting diets won’t allow it.
So let’s take a closer look at Metamucil, its properties, and its effects on fasting.
Will Metamucil break my fast?
The impact of Metamucil on your fast is contingent on your personal objectives with intermittent fasting. For those whose primary objective is to enhance gut health, it’s crucial to note that Metamucil, even pure psyllium husk alone, could interrupt your fasting cycle. When it comes to fostering gut health, it’s the complete avoidance of food during the fasting window that stimulates vital digestive processes like the Migrating Motor Complex – a key function to abdominal motility and removal of residual food and bacteria.
On the other hand, if your aim with intermittent fasting is to shed weight, taking Metamucil shouldn’t disrupt your fast. The fiber in psyllium husk will not trigger an insulin response, thereby maintaining the fasting state. One of the key advantages of intermittent fasting is its natural propensity to decrease insulin levels while you fast, paving the way for the body’s fat-burning process to commence.
Turning our attention back to Metamucil, the key ingredient, psyllium husk, doesn’t interrupt fasting when considering weight loss or blood sugar control. But Metamucil as a product can. And why is that? Because Metamucil comes in various forms – from capsules to powders – that carry additional ingredients on top of the psyllium husk.
For instance Metamucil Fiber Thins, which pack 100 calories per serving, along with 15 grams of carbs, 4 of which are sugar – they definitely answer the question, whether Metamucil will break your fast with a resounding yes.
In contrast, Metamucil capsules contain a mere 5 calories with its 2 grams of carbs derived entirely from soluble fiber. Such a product should have little to no impact on your fast.
In terms of Metamucil powders, the variety is vast, with the product available in numerous flavors and compositions. Powders containing real sugar are a definitive ‘no’ during the fasting period. But most of them are sugar-free, sweetened with stevia or sucralose, known not to cause an insulin reaction according to several studies. These sugar-free variants have divided the opinion of researchers and users alike, emphasizing the need for more in-depth research.
Dirty Fasting, a less rigid form of fasting, allows items like Metamucil during the fasting period. So, if you’re Dirty Fasting, consuming Metamucil is not a concern.
Where can you find Metamucil?
Metamucil is a standalone product that can be bought at drug stores or on Amazon. You won’t find it as an ingredient in other products, but you can find its main ingredient, psyllium husk as a standalone supplement.
Effects of Metamucil
Metamucil is known mostly as a laxative, as are most fiber supplements. However, many people report seeing improvement even with diarrhea. That’s due to the psyllium husk, which promotes healthy bowel movement. For this reason, psyllium husk is recommended to people suffering from various inflammatory bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or diseases such as Chron’s disease or ulcerative colitis. However, if you’re dealing with any of these conditions, it is recommended to talk to a doctor before taking Metamucil.
Don’t forget that the positive effect on bowel movements is highly dependent upon your water intake, so drink at least one cup of water after a serving of Metamucil, regardless of the form in which you’re taking the supplement.
Metamucil has also been reported to help lower cholesterol. Again, the effect is given by the psyllium husk which helps lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and may also increase HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). Metamucil also has a positive effect on triglyceride levels, thus contributing to cardiovascular health.
Another benefit is that it can suppress your appetite. Metamucil has a product that is designed specifically with this purpose in mind, but all of them should have this effect due to the psyllium husk.
When not taken with enough water, Metamucil can lead to severe constipation and even bowel obstruction.
While not addictive in nature, using Metamucil for an extended period of time may lead to chronic constipation. Your body becomes accustomed to having bowel movements only after the use of a laxative. This habit could lead to a form of addiction that leads to constipation in the absence of laxatives. Metamucil is a mild laxative, so this effect doesn’t happen quickly. Nonetheless, it is best to consult a physician and follow their instructions about the duration of the treatment.
Metamucil’s appetite suppressing effect may also become an issue, especially in people who fast or those who are prone to hypoglycemia. Try not to use it to postpone your first meal of the day, especially if you’re fasting for extended periods. Also, if you’re experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia shortly after taking Metamucil, rethink the dosage or the time of day when you’re taking it.
What about other fiber supplements?
It all depends on their composition. Pure fiber supplements, like psyllium husk, are generally safe for those fasting for weight loss or blood sugar management. With other supplements, it all depends on the composition, as is the case with Metamucil. If you want to be sure you won’t break a fast, choose natural alternatives, that have no additives, flavor, or sweeteners.
Those who fast for autophagy or gut rest should preferably leave any fiber supplements for their eating window or use them to break the fast.
The bottom line
Metamucil is a fiber supplement that contains psyllium husk along with other ingredients such as sweeteners, flavors, or vitamins. It comes in different forms from capsules, to snacks, and powders. Whether it breaks your fast or not depends on which type of Metamucil you’re taking and the method, the method of intermittent fasting you’re following, and your reason for fasting.
Capsules are generally safe with all types of fasts. They only contain 5 calories and the carbs come only from soluble fiber, so they won’t cause an insulin reaction. Sugar-free powders are mostly safe since they only contain stevia, a natural sweetener that may, very rarely, cause an insulin reaction in some people. They also contain 30 calories per serving, and while their carbs only come from fiber, the number of calories might be high during the fasting period under some methods. All other Metamucil products contain more calories and sugars and will break your fast.