Meet Viscous Fiber, Your Most Vicious Weight Loss Tool

Always hungry? This special type of fiber may help you eat less.

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When it comes to weight loss, unfortunately there’s no magic pill that sheds the pounds for you. Everybody (and every body) is different, but for the most part, the key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you take in.

As straightforward as this weight loss formula may seem, actually taking in fewer calories (i.e., changing your diet) or burning more regularly (i.e., getting more physical activity) is easier said than done. It takes a serious commitment to change your lifestyle, and to break bad habits or adopt new, healthier ones.

While working on getting more physical activity is an important part of the slim-down process (and improving your overall health), it’s the changing-your-diet part that many people have a tough time with. It’s difficult to learn to stop eating when you’re full, say no to a daily dessert craving, or remember to pack your lunch every day so you’re not tempted by the local burger joint.

While there’s no shortage of kooky weight loss tricks to help you ward off your hankering for eats, there’s one in particular that has the potential to seriously change your weight loss game: Eating more viscous fiber.

Why Viscous Fiber Is Great for Weight Loss

Viscous fiber is a special type of fiber that can help you eat less without even trying. While all types of fiber help promote fullness and reduce appetite, viscous fiber is the best at it.

Here’s why: The term “viscous” essentially refers to thickness. For example, maple syrup is more viscous than water. Viscous fibers, which include pectins, beta-glucans, glucomannan, guar gum, and psyllium, all thicken in water and form a gel-like substance in your stomach.

When you eat foods with viscous fiber, the gel it forms “sits” in your stomach and takes its sweet time to move through your digestive system. Viscous fiber’s slow-moving mojo helps keep you full for longer, which buys you a little more time until your next meal. This means you’re less likely to get too hungry and overeat later, or snack mindlessly. (Learn why hunger is not a sign of being a “good dieter.”)

So where can you find this appetite-suppressing fiber? Viscous fiber is found in plants, such as beans, asparagus, oats, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and apricots.

By adding these viscous fiber-rich foods to your plate, you may just eat less without even noticing, which can lead to weight loss.

Once you’ve lost the weight, here’s how to keep it off: Learn the 6 habits that people who lost weight for good have in common.