There are numerous reasons why the drug semaglutide — sold to consumers as Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus — has become widely popular in recent years. There’s its effect on diabetes and weight loss, for one thing, which can also lead to positive effects on other areas of health, such as high blood pressure. Some who take Ozempic or related drugs have also spoken about the drug’s effect on reducing a sense of “food noise” during the day.
Much has been written about the science behind how semaglutide regulates a person’s appetite, and it’s enough to leave you wondering; is there anything else that might have a similar effect? A group of researchers have pointed to one type of food as an answer: fiber. But finding the right type of fiber could require more research.
That’s the big takeaway from a recent NPR investigation by Michaeleen Doucleff. Doucleff spoke with a number of scientists and experts who have studied the connection between our brains and our digestive system — and the ways that that connection can be adjusted. Among the interviewees was the University of Arizona’s Frank Duca, who spoke of the importance of eating more fiber in one’s diet.
Duca pointed to a specific type of fiber that he and his associates found useful in inducing weight loss when testing different options on animals. “At face value and, at least in our settings, it was only beta-glucan that was effective,” he told NPR.
There are a few different ways to ingest more of this type of fiber — including eating it in oats, rye or barley. Though for his part, Duca emphasized the importance of eating more fiber before getting into specific varieties of fiber.
It’s worth pointing out that the work being done by Duca and his colleagues isn’t the first time beta-glucan has shown up in studies as something that can benefit your health. A 2011 study noted, “[i]ts beneficial role in insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and obesity is being continuously documented.” Eating more fiber is rarely bad advice — and this ongoing research helps explain why that’s the case.
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