Is Metamucil Keto or not?
One complaint that some people have on the ketogenic diet is constipation and that’s understandable since many people new-to-keto significantly limit the amount of fiber on their new diet. If you’re having issues with constipation on the ketogenic diet, you’ve probably wondered if you need more fiber. Or maybe you’ve wondered if you need to take a fiber supplement like Metamucil.
What is Metamucil?
Metamucil is a well-known fiber supplement in the United States and it’s used to help treat constipation and soften your stool. Metamucil comes in powder, wafer, and capsule forms. Metamucil also comes in a sugar-free version and is gluten-free.
How does Metamucil work?
The main ingredient of Metamucil is psyllium husks from the plant Plantago ovato. Psyllium husks have about 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving, but it’s all from fiber, so the small intestine does not absorb any of the carbohydrates.
The regular powder form of Metamucil does have a small amount of sucrose (table sugar) to give it a little flavor. There is a sugar-free version of Metamucil that contained maltodextrin instead of sucrose.
What fiber supplements are similar to Metamucil?
Metamucil is a brand-name for a psyllium husk supplement. There are many other companies that also sell a psyllium husk supplement.
Understanding insoluble and soluble fiber
There are two main types of fiber in our diet; insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water while insoluble fiber won’t dissolve in water. Soluble fiber is made up of plant pectins and gums that create a gelatin-like substance when it dissolves in water. The soluble fiber helps keep water in the large intestine and keeps the stool softer. Insoluble fiber is mostly made up of cellulose and helps increase the bulk of the stool in the large intestine.
The psyllium husks that make up the main ingredient in Metamucil are a combination of about 70% soluble fiber and 30% insoluble fiber, so you get the benefits of both soluble and insoluble fiber with Metamucil on a keto diet.
What are high fiber foods on the ketogenic diet?
If you want to avoid having to take Metamucil on the keto diet, then make sure you are getting enough high-fiber foods in your diet. On the ketogenic diet, you want to choose low-carbohydrate, high-fiber foods and avoid starchy foods like potatoes and other tubulars.
You can read more about high-fiber keto foods here.
Other benefits on Metamucil on a keto diet
Because of the soluble and insoluble fiber in Metamucil, there are some health benefits of taking Metamucil on a ketogenic diet.
A 2000 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that 5.1 grams of psyllium daily over 6 months lowered both total and LDL cholesterol in men and women that had high cholesterol. (1)https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/6/1433/4729388
While all the study participants followed an American Heart Association (AHA) diet that is much higher in daily carbohydrates than a ketogenic diet, there may still be some benefit to taking Metamucil on a keto diet.
Also in 2000, a meta-analysis of 8 prior studies showed that 10.2 grams of psyllium husks a day over at least 6 weeks also lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in men and women on a low-fat diet. (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10648260/
Psyllium husks also help to slow and decrease absorption of glucose in the intestine and this slowed absorption of glucose may be a benefit to people on a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
Why you may not need Metamucil on the keto diet
Constipation is typically caused not just by a lack of fiber, but also by lack of water and fluid intake. In fact, many people take a fiber supplement and still have problems with constipation. The primary reason is that they are not drinking enough water with the Metamucil. Any type of fiber, whether its from vegetables or from a fiber supplement such as Metamucil or Citracel, helps soften stool by retaining water in the large intestine. The more water that is not absorbed by the large intestine and remains in the stool, the softer the stool. Too much water and you have diarrhea, although that rarely happens with Metamucil, especially on a keto diet.
If you keep well-hydrated and exercise, you should have normal bowel movements on the ketogenic diet and may not need Metamucil or another fiber supplement.
Higher fat diets like the ketogenic diet also tend to have looser stools because of the high-fat content. If fact, if you have too much MCT oil or coconut oil in your morning coffee, you’ve probably already experienced the laxative effects of these MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides).
Is Metamucil Keto?
Due to the low sugar and carbohydrate content and high fiber, Metamucil is keto-friendly.