Effects of dietary fibre on subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Obes Rev. 2011 Sep;12(9):724-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00895.x. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Dietary fibres are believed to reduce subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight. However, different types of dietary fibre may affect these outcomes differently. The aim of this review was to systematically investigate the available literature on the relationship between dietary fibre types, appetite, acute and long-term energy intake, and body weight. Fibres were grouped according to chemical structure and physicochemical properties (viscosity, solubility and fermentability). Effect rates were calculated as the proportion of all fibre-control comparisons that reduced appetite (n = 58 comparisons), acute energy intake (n = 26), long-term energy intake (n = 38) or body weight (n = 66). For appetite, acute energy intake, long-term energy intake and body weight, there were clear differences in effect rates depending on chemical structure. Interestingly, fibres characterized as being more viscous (e.g. pectins, β-glucans and guar gum) reduced appetite more often than those less viscous fibres (59% vs. 14%), which also applied to acute energy intake (69% vs. 30%). Overall, effects on energy intake and body weight were relatively small, and distinct dose-response relationships were not observed. Short- and long-term effects of dietary fibres appear to differ and multiple mechanisms relating to their different physicochemical properties seem to interplay. This warrants further exploration.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fiber / classification
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism
  • Energy Intake / drug effects*
  • Fermentation
  • Humans
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Solubility
  • Viscosity