You probably know pectin as the ingredient that helps make jams gel.But new research suggests this fruit and veggie fiber may also be the ingredient to successful weight loss as well.A study from the University at Buffalo found that consuming more pectin — the connective fiber found in apples, oranges, plums, carrots and other produce — helped dieters feel more “full.”
Researchers monitored the diets of 29 obese or overweight women to see whether calorie intake would be affected by consuming 2.8 grams of pectin — roughly the amount found in a large apple — before breakfast and lunch.Those women who most benefited from the added pectin were those who historically had the hardest time dieting and controlling their weight.In fact, the extra pectin appeared to help these struggling dieters consume 12% fewer calories overall during the day — and 22% fewer calories during the evening.
These latest findings may help to explain why Volumetrics — a diet that relies on high-fiber foods — was ranked #1 in efficacy (and nutrition) by Consumer Reports. Just as pectin helps to thicken watery mixtures in jam recipes, it may also absorb water in your gut, slowing down absorption of fats and sugars while enhancing feelings of satiety.Other research suggests pectin may also function as aprebiotic fiber — fortifying the “good” bacteria in your intestinal system so that they can in turn protect you from “bad” bacteria like E.coli.
Food safety — and feeling fuller — are but two of fiber’s many health benefits.Eating a broad variety of fiber-rich foods will help promote regularity, protect your heart and even reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
Don’t be among the half of Americans who fail to get enough fiber — reach for delicious fiber sources like berries, broccoli, salad greens, beans, dried fruit, root vegetables and oats.
Published February 1, 2008