It is advisable to use natural foods instead of taking the drugs or surgery route. It may be as simple as consuming fibrous foods, or drinking a glass of water to enhance fullness. “Choose fibrous foods to keep you satiated; you will automatically feel fuller faster,” advises Sheeba Majmudar, a nutritionist in private practice. “Fibre-wholesome foods, including vegetables, fruits and wholegrains, are a healthy way to keep you full and prevent you from overeating.”
In serious cases of obesity, natural substances such as PGX (PolyGlycopleX, a supplement made from plant fibres called polysaccharides), psyllium and oat bran may be administered.
PGX is a weight-loss supplement that works effectively on the digestive system, slowing down the food digestion process while balancing blood sugar levels. Being able to absorb 600 times its weight when in water, it makes the user feel full. In order to lose weight, the recommended daily dose is 25–30g of the fibre, not the average 12g. However, Majmudar offers, “PGX is more common in the United States, where obesity is more widespread than in Asia. The use of PGX may not so relevant for Asians.”
Psyllium fibre is a soluble fibre derived from the Plantago ovata, a plant native to Iran and India. One can purchase psyllium in various forms, from tablets to powder or even husks, which must be consumed with at least eight ounces of water.
Oat bran is another wholesome high-fibre food. It combines with saliva and with the liquids in the stomach to fill you up. One tablespoonful of oat bran absorbs about 25 times its own mass in liquids from the stomach, which creates a sensation of fullness.
Although fibre is clearly a proven way to curb appetite, Majmudar cautions, “We cannot take too much fibre all at once; it must be incorporated gradually. If not, the individual will experience great discomfort.”
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock. This article first appeared in NATURA magazine issue No.3. Find NATURA at Eu Yan Sang retail outlets, newsstands and major bookstores in Singapore.