Metamucil only has one real drawback when it comes to losing or managing weight. As a fiber supplement, Metamucil is exceptional. It is a great way to add necessary fiber to the diet.
One heaping tablespoon of Metamucil with real sugar provides 3 grams of dietary fiber. Recommended use is generally one heaping tablespoon up to three times daily, which would provide approximately 9 grams of dietary fiber to the diet. For appetite control, the recommendation is 2 tablespoons before each meal. Assuming 3 meals, fiber intake can be up to 18 grams.
The FDA recommends 28 grams of dietary fiber daily. Used as an appetite control, Metamucil would only cover 18 grams of that. And the amount of fiber in the sugar-free version of Metamucil is the same as the “with real sugar.”
Regarding its macronutrient content, Metamucil does not contain fat. However, it is not carbohydrate free. Two tablespoons of Metamucil with real sugar contain 23 grams of carbohydrates of which added sugars account for 16 grams. Two teaspoons of the sugar-free version has 10 grams of carbohydrates and zero added sugar.
Although Metamucil has versions made with Stevia and other variations, the two most popular seem to be Metamucil’s Orange Real Sugar Smooth Powder and its sugar-free version. And its popularity is a no-brainer to me. I love both products.
The taste reminds me of Tang. And I loved Tang growing up. It was the astronauts’ drink with a full day’s supply of vitamin C. What was not to love? With Metamucil, you would get the great taste of Tang with all the great benefits of fiber.
However, for all the good things about Metamucil, it does have a real drawback. That drawback is sugar. Suppose one uses Metamucil as a supplement to control appetite. Two tablespoons before each meal would provide a matching 69 grams of carbohydrates of which 48 grams would be added sugars. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s about the equivalent of a can of regular soda. That’s a lot of sugar.
Because if one uses it to control appetite, then weight is certainly a concern. While getting the extra 18 grams of dietary fiber is great, it comes at the cost of consuming 48 grams of sugar. And sugar has no nutritional value. In fact, you could even say that it has a negative nutritional value.
The other popular item is the sugar free version. With zero added sugar, it would seem to address the problem of all that added sugar. However, the subtraction of the actual sugar is replaced by the addition of aspartame. While the FDA has approved aspartame, it is of questionable value to some in the weight loss community. There are a lot of people who drink diet sodas and are still very overweight.
The inference may be unfair to aspartame, but artificial sweeteners are to state the obvious: artificial. Now there seems to be a Stevia variation as well, but Metamucil Real Sugar Orange Smooth Powder still seems to be the most popular.
So the question then becomes one of options. After all, if one wants to still enjoy the benefits of Metamucil but is wary of all that added sugar or artificial sweeteners (except, of course, Stevia), then what are the options. Well, one option is to forego the fiber supplement and focus on fiber.
If your diet is rich in fibrous foods, then a supplement would not be necessary. An avocado has 6.7 grams of fiber. Apples, carrots, beets, strawberries, broccoli all clock in at around 2 to 3 grams per serving. Blackberries and raspberries are in the five to six gram range. Beans and peas hover in the 7 to 9 gram range. Chia seeds have a tremendous amount of fiber, around 10 grams per ounce!
Another option is to look at the Metamucil ingredient list. It’s psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is the only source of fiber in Metamucil. Stripped of the maltodextrin, citric acid, etc., all that remains is the Psyllium husk.
A tablespoon of psyllium husk contains about 6.47 grams of fiber without sugars. One tablespoon of Metamucil Real Sugar Orange Smooth Powder provides around 3 grams with 8 grams of real sugar. Measure for measure, taking psyllium husk directly provides a much greater bang for the buck.
Still, in the rush of the day, it can be difficult to get all the fiber you need from whole foods. And if appetite control is the problem, then certainly a supplement like Metamucil would fit the bill. Also, the experience of drinking Psyllium mixed with water is much less enjoyable than drinking that wonderful Tang like Metamucil. In fact, psyllium husk does not dissolve very well in water. You just have to drink everything fast. Frankly, it’s not nice.
For a dietary fiber supplement, Metamucil is a good choice. However, it must be recognized that it comes at the expense of consuming a lot of sugar or consuming artificial sweeteners. And so, when it comes to weight loss or control, the extra 48 grams of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners could be a deal breaker.
Lastly, I would be wrong if I didn’t mention Metamucil as a digestive health supplement specifically for relieving constipation and promoting regular bowel movements. In fact, my initial purpose in drinking Metamucil was to help me with my bowel movements. Sugar and weight control or weight loss aside, I would highly recommend Metamucil for this reason alone. But, then this would be a topic for another article in itself.