Benefiber is a fiber supplement product which is available in the market. Benefiber contains water soluble natural fiber. The main difference between Benefiber and other fiber supplements is – Benefiber is is sugar-free and taste-free while most other fiber supplements contain some sugar or other sweetening agents or they are enhanced with some flavor.
In case you can’t tolerate sugary drinks or flavored liquids then Benefiber may be the right choice for you. However there is also a flavored version of Benefiber available called Kiwi Strawberry fiber Stick mix. Just in case you are wondering if it can be mixed in other drinks, the answer is Yes. The reason is Benefiber contains soluble fiber which means it can dissolve in liquids. In fact Benefiber can easily dissolve in non-carbonated beverages as well as soft foods.
What Are The Ingredients in Benefiber
I checked the ingredient list in the Benefiber product labels. I could find only one ingredient mentioned in three out of four products – Wheat Dextrin.
Here are the ingredients in the products I checked.
Benefiber Powder Ingredients
- Wheat Dextrin gluten free
Benefiber Stick Packs Ingredients
- Wheat Dextrin gluten free
Kiwi Strawberry Flavored Drink Mix Stick Packs Ingredients
- Wheat Dextrin
- Citric Acid
- Natural Flavors
- Potassium Citrate
- Acesulfame Potassium
- Tricalcium Phosphate
- Calcium Silicate
- Gum Arabic
- Magnesium Oxide
- Titanium Dioxide
- FD &C Red 40
Benefiber Healthy Shape Ingredients
- Wheat Dextrin gluten free
Benefiber Main Component Wheat Dextrin Explained
The guideline by American Dietetic Association recommends that average adults should consume between 20 and 35 g of fiber every day. Fibers are present only in plant based foods. Any carbohydrate which cannot be digested by our body is considered as dietary fiber.
There are two kinds of fibers – insoluble and soluble fibers. Benefiber falls into the soluble category where as Metamucil falls into insoluble category of fibers. Sufficient fiber intake is essential for our health and well being. Many times fibers we get from food are not sufficient as per out daily needs. In such cases you can meet that daily recommended value with fiber supplements. Fibers keep the digestive tract and bowel movements regular. Benefiber is available in powder, chewable tablets or caplet form.
Wheat dextrin is the active and principal ingredient in Benefiber. It can be easily dissolved and consumed in any hot or cold beverage, including water, coffee or juice. This property makes it very easy to consume this fiber as compared to Metamucil, since many people do not find it easy to consume the thick gel like formation once Metamucil is added to water.
Although Benefiber is extracted from wheat still Benefiber powder contains less than 20 ppm gluten. Wheat Dextrin has many beneficial properties towards health including its ability to regulate the digestive system, stabilizing your blood sugar levels, increase micro nutrient absorption and lowering the serum lipids levels. These were found in study in a study conducted by U.S. National Institutes of Health, in January 2009. It was concluded that supplementation with soluble fibers like Benefiber actually lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What are the different flavors of Benefiber
Earlier Benefiber was sold in many different flavors which included – orange, wild berry, kiwi strawberry, citrus punch, raspberry tea and cherry pomegranate. Recently Benefiber is being sold only in Kiwi, Strawberry flavor for the flavored sticks product. Other flavors seem to have been discontinued. Other than this one product other products do not have any flavor. In fact having no flavor is the differentiating factor for Benefiber from other products.
One reason for discontinuation could be the reason that flavors are not natural. They are created using many chemicals and ingredients. These ingredients include citric acid, maltodextrin, aspartame, natural flavors and potassium citrate. Depending on the flavor, varying ingredients may also be present like tea extract, acesulfame, potassium, FD&C yellow 5 and 6, and sucralose. The chewable and powder Benefiber may include calcium — in the form of calcium carbonate — and B vitamins for a heart healthy version.
One of the major artificial ingredients which causes major debates now a days is aspartame. Many believe that Aspartame can cause Cancer. U.S. Food and Drug Administration various complaints concerning aspartame side effects. We would recommend using the unflavored Benefiber since it provides the same amounts of Wheat Dextrin without aspartame.
How Much Fiber is Present in One Serving of Benefiber
Here are the details of fiber content as per the product.
For a serving size of 2 tea spoons 4 grams
Beneiber Stick Packs
For a serving size of 1 stick pack 4 grams
Flavored Beneiber Stick Packs
For a serving size of 1 packet (6.2 grams) 3 grams
Benefiber Healthy Shape
For a serving size of 1 one rounded tablespoon (7.4 grams) 5 grams
What Are Benefiber Side Effects
As with any food or supplement there can be side effects when you take Benefiber. Some of the side effects are very common to most fiber supplements such as – Flatulence, bloating and gas. This is caused by fermentation of fiber by bacteria in the gut which releases gas.
Other common side effects are diarrhea, nausea or upset stomach. Sometimes Benefiber can also cause constipation when sufficient fluid is not taken since benefiber create stool bulk and it can become hard when there is less water. The good news is this is relatively rare to have the side effects. You should start with a single dose and take good amount of water and see if you have any side effects.
Another significant side effect is related to people who are on certain prescription drugs. Benefiber can slow down the absorption of drugs which may be of concern. For example University of Maryland Medical Center has reported that fiber supplements can affect the absorption of following drugs –
Metformin – Drug for diabetes
Cholestyramine (Prevalite) and Colestipol (Colestid) – Which are used for reducing cholesterol
Carbamazepine (Tegretol) – Which is a antiseizure drug
Doxepin (Silenor) and imipramine (Tofranil) – Which are anti depressent
However the above list of drugs is a common list for various fiber supplements but Benefiber does not interfere to the extent of other drugs as it does not cause roughage.
Some people who have IBS also suffer discomfort and symptoms related to IBS. One of the reason for this may be presence of minute quantities of gluten in Benefiber.
I studied the feedback of Benefiber on Amazon and found that most people have positive experience.
Positive Reviews of Benefiber
I keep a bottle at home and another at the office to fortify whatever I’m drinking throughout the day. I’ve never detected a change in taste (even in water). Benefiber also mixes better than anything other fiber supplement I’ve tried. Some advice: If you pour the powder into a beverage slowly, it won’t clump and will stir easily. If you pour the powder into an empty glass, then pour your beverage on top, it will clump and will take quite a while to stir thoroughly.
~ Roger O at https://www.amazon.com/Benefiber-Taste-Free-Sugar-Free-Supplement-Digestive/dp/B00CX3ASFE/ref=sr_1_3_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1483297642&sr=1-3&keywords=benefiber&th=1
For anyone who has any kind of ulcers or Colitis this is not just an additive. It’s pretty much a necessity. Amazon makes it easy to reorder and keep it on hand. For me, with my ulcerated colitis, it truly is a life saver. Highly recommended.
~ Nicole at https://www.amazon.com/Benefiber-Taste-Free-Sugar-Free-Supplement-Digestive/dp/B00CX3ASFE/ref=sr_1_3_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1483297642&sr=1-3&keywords=benefiber&th=1
Negative Reviews of Benefiber
I could find very few negative comments and reviews. Here are some of them.
I’ve been ordering this for quite awhile, however this batch seems to be defective. It simply will not dissolve in any liquid whatsoever. It just clumps up and has to be consumed with a spoon (if you’re that dedicated).
~ Terry Van Kirk at https://www.amazon.com/Benefiber-Taste-Free-Sugar-Free-Supplement-Digestive/product-reviews/B00CX3ASFE/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#RS1VY3S510WE6
It does not work for me I felt like when I took it it gave me a headache
~ Timah at https://www.amazon.com/Benefiber-Taste-Free-Sugar-Free-Supplement-Digestive/product-reviews/B00CX3ASFE/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#RS1VY3S510WE6
What is the Recommended Benefiber Dose
Benefiber can be taken by children 6 and older. Obviously adults can also safely take Benefiber. According to Drugs.com normally children 12 years and older as well as adults can take 2 tsp. three times daily. From this you should be able to get around 12 grams of soluble fiber per day from this dose. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 should take 1 tsp. three times daily. Benefiber also has an original, unflavored child version however the Benefiber website no longer shows this product.
If you plan on taking the sticks here are the dose recommended – Up to 2 benefiber sticks for adults, three times per day. Children 6 to 11 years old can take up to 1/2 stick, three times a day.
Is Benefiber Gluten Free
Yes Benefiber is practically gluten free since it contains less than 20ppm of gluten. This is considered by FDA and Codex Alimentarius Commission as sufficient to certify it as gluten free. However if you suffer from Celiac disease you should avoid Benefiber as a precaution since it contains very small amount of gluten.
Benefiber For Constipation During Pregnancy
Benefiber is a fiber supplement which is taken for fulfilling the fiber deficiency in your diet. One of the good effects of Benefiber is its ability to provide relief in constipation. Benefiber is made from Wheat Dextrin which is a water soluble compound. If you want to know more on wheat dextrin here is another article.
Constipation can be caused due to many factors but during pregnancy it is caused by mainly two factors. Firstly there are changes in hormones in the body which changes the way the body functions. Another reason is the changes in the shape of the body, especially in the later stages, which can change the pressure on the abdominal organs including the intestines. This happens as the baby needs more space as the time goes.
Can You Take Benefiber During Pregnancy
Pregnancy often causes many physical problems for the expectant mother. For example many would be mother face constipation problems for many days at a time. Benefiber can benefit in these cases. Benefiber can be taken during pregnancy also and it can help you in the bathroom. Benefiber is available in powder form as well as capsules also. You can select the form you like. Usually for proper health you should consume around 30 grams of fiber through your diet everyday. That should ideally include both soluble and insoluble fibers. Benefiber provides around 5 to 6 grams of fiber from two teaspoons.
If you suffer from IBS or Celiac disease you should be careful. Many people with IBS or Celiac can have adverse side effects since the fiber is sourced from wheat. You can consider other fibers such as Fiber choice or metamucil in case you suffer from these conditions.
Always start with small dose if you are taking Benefiber or any other fiber supplements during pregnancy. Taking small dose and taking lot of water is the recommended way. If you see that you are comfortable you can increase your dose. Initially you can start with only half a tea spoon and then go to 2 teaspoon gradually. You can take this three times a day.
Try to take more fiber rich food along with supplements since it will not only help you to remain free from constipation it will also prevent too much weight gain during pregnancy.
Advantages of Benefiber over Metamucil
Since Benefiber is a water soluble fiber it is fundamentally different as compared to Metamucil. Metamucil becomes like a thick gel when it comes in contact with water or other liquids and expands in size as it absorbs water. Benefiber is more of a soluble fiber and it completely dissolved in liquids such as water, carbonated drink, tea or coffee. It is also tasteless.
So here are some advantages of Benefiber
1. Easier to Consume – Since it is tasteless and does not form a thick gel, it can be consumed by anybody very easily. Even kids can have it with ease. Most people find the strange taste of Psyllium difficult to take down when they take it for the first time. Some discomfort always remains even when you have become used to Psyllium which is the key ingredient in Metamucil.
2. No Feeling of Fullness – Psyllium expands in the stomach since it absorbs lot of fluid. It increases in weight and you get a feeling of fullness. Many people do not like that feeling. If you are one of them, you will not find this problem with Benefiber since it does not lead to feeling of fullness in the stomach or bloated stomach.
3. No Risk of Chocking – Another problem related to the ways psyllium expands is sometime it can lead to chocking either in the food pipe also known as esophagus or in the intestines if you do not take sufficient amount of water with it. With Benefiber this issue is not seen.
4. Less Interference with Medication – Psyllium can also interfere with medications, by limiting their absorption in the blood stream. This happens since Psyllium can engulf the medicines and limit its contact with the intestines from where it is absorbed into the blood. Benefiber does not have this disadvantage as compared to Psyllium as it is a soluble fiber there is no roughage produced by it. However it can still slow down the absorption to some extent.
The above disadvantages may make you think that Metamucil is not good for you. However Metamucil has its own advantages which cannot be ignored. You can find the advantages of Metamucil over Benefiber here. Important thing is your body needs both soluble and insoluble fiber and taking just one type of fiber may not be sufficient for you.
Differences Between Benefiber and Metamucil
If you try to compare Benefiber vs Metamucil, the primary differences are basically what you can see between Soluble and Insoluble fibers.
Metamucil is better suited for constipation relief. Metamucil can also trap the carbohydrates better and acts like a sponge and absorbs cholesterol. It is also good for controlling blood sugar. Since it makes a thick paste, it also cleans the guts as it moves along the intestines. This will not be seen in fibers like Benefiber as they do not form any paste.
However there is one good benefit you can have with Benefiber. Benefiber will not trap any medication or interfere with their functioning. So if you want to fulfill your dietary fiber requirements while on medications you can go for Benefiber.
For better health you would need both kinds of fibers in certain balance. Often you can get these fibers from food also, especially fruits and vegetables. It is always better to have a proper mix of both kinds of fibers in your diet and have these products as supplements when your food is not able to fulfill your fiber needs.