Objective: To assess whether psyllium, a soluble dietary fibre, could, at an acceptable dose (7.4 g), delay gastric emptying of a low-calorie meal, and reduce hunger feeling and energy intake, without requiring intimate mixing with the meal.
Design: A double blind randomized cross over study with 14 normal volunteers, to evaluate the effect of this dose of psyllium on postprandial serum glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels, and on gastric fullness, hunger feeling and food intake.
Methods: Gastric emptying was measured using a standard double-radiolabeled 450 kcal meal and feelings by visual analogic scales. The postprandial serum glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels were also determined.
Results: No delay in the gastric emptying of the solid and liquid phases of the meal was observed with psyllium. After the meal, hunger feelings and energy intake were significantly lower during the psyllium session than during the placebo session (13% and 17% lower respectively; P < 0.05). Postprandial increase in serum glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels was less with psyllium than with placebo (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Psyllium reduces hunger feelings and energy intake in normal volunteers at reasonable dose and without requiring mixing with the meal. It does not act by slowing down the gastric emptying of hydrosoluble nutrients, but by increase in the time allowed for intestinal absorption, as suggested by the flattening of the postprandial serum glucose, insulin and triglycerides curves.