Wheat dextrin and psyllium are both dietary fibers often used in various supplements and laxatives. So, which one is better? Below, we will see the detailed comparisons of wheat dextrin vs psyllium to help you choose the right supplement for weight loss. Continue reading!
What is Dextrin?
Dextrins are low-molecular-weight carbohydrates that are produced from the hydrolysis of glycogen or starch. There are indeed several types of dextrins, along with two other related types which are the maltodextrin (a short-chain starch sugar) and cyclodextrins (cyclical dextrins formed from enzymatic starch degradation by certain bacteria).
Nevertheless, the most popular dextrin that is commonly used in various dietary supplements is wheat dextrin. Just like what the name suggests, wheat dextrin is acquired from wheat. It is acquired from wheat starch that has been processed, roasted, and cooled. Although the manufacturing process separates the gluten content from the wheat, wheat dextrin may still contain some traces of gluten.
Wheat dextrin is an incredibly versatile product. It is used for textiles, as an adhesive agent, as a food thickener, and also as a dietary fiber. When used in a dietary supplement, it is usually meant to improve the digestion process, provide laxative effects, or aid in weight loss.
What is Psyllium?
On the other hand, psyllium is a common name that is used to refer to several plants that belong to the genus Plantago. These plants’ husks and seeds are used commercially for producing dietary fiber and mucilage. As a dietary fiber, psyllium is primarily used to relieve the symptoms of constipation and mild diarrhea. Sometimes, psyllium is also used as a food thickener. Several researches have shown that psyllium also has benefits for lowering blood cholesterol levels.
The Plantago plants grow optimally in dry and cool climates. They are mainly cultivated in the northern part of India, but there are also many other sources in the world. (See also : Inulin Vs Psyllium)
From the introduction and explanation above, we can infer that the first difference between dextrin vs psyllium is the source. Well, both of them come from natural plants, so there’s no need to worry about consuming synthetic chemicals. Both dextrin and psyllium are natural products. The most commonly used type of dextrin is wheat dextrin, which is acquired from wheat starch.
On the other hand, the source of psyllium is the Plantago plants. Although there are actually several species that can be utilized for the production of psyllium, the most well-known one is of course Plantago psyllium. There is also another species, Plantago ovata, which is commonly used in the industry to produce the husk and mucilage.
Both wheat dextrin vs psyllium are soluble fibers. In other words, both are fibers that can absorb water. When they absorb water, they become gelatinous. They become gel-like structures which fill and move slowly through your digestive tract. By filling the digestive tract for a long time, the dietary fiber can make you feel longer and control your appetite. You will not get hungry for some time. This is why wheat dextrin and psyllium are very popularly used to aid in weight loss.
A soluble dietary fiber like wheat dextrin and psyllium are also important because it is able to bind cholesterol in the digestive tract. It will make sure that your body will not absorb all of the cholesterol from the foods you have just eaten. It will then discard the absorbed cholesterol out from the body.
A soluble dietary fiber is also beneficial for diabetic people. The gel-like structure that it forms will prevent a spike in your blood sugar levels. It slows down the digestion and absorption process, so your body will not take a huge load of sugar at once.
Finally, both wheat dextrin and psyllium are beneficial for the health of the digestion system. More specifically, these are probiotics that can nourish the good bacteria in the digestive tract and limit the growth of bad bacteria. Both wheat dextrin and psyllium can be fermented by the bacteria in your large intestine. After all, regular consumption of dietary fiber is an important part of a healthy diet.
Although insoluble fibers are very popular for preventing constipation, both wheat dextrin and psyllium also have similar benefits. Both wheat dextrin and psyllium are used in over-the-counter (OTC) bulk-forming laxatives. As they absorb water, they are able to help make the stool larger and softer, which will trigger the intestinal muscles to contract and push the waste out from your body.
Whenever you are consuming a laxative, you should increase your fiber intake gradually instead of suddenly. You should also drink enough water. All to avoid possible side effects like gas and diarrhea.
Possible Side Effects
Finally, the big difference between wheat dextrin vs psyllium is their possible side effects. In general, the most common possible side effects of dietary fibers also exist in these fibers. If you don’t take them with enough water, they may swell before reaching the digestive tract and block your throat. Drinking enough water is very important. Also, if your usual daily fiber intake is low, you should not immediately take a full dose. Instead, gradually increase the intake to give your stomach some time to get used to the diet. If you have a kidney disease, you should consult your doctor before taking any fiber supplement.
Wheat dextrin is generally well-tolerated. However, it may come with some traces of gluten. If you have the celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you should avoid wheat dextrin.
Psyllium is also generally safe, but some people may be allergic to it. Before taking a psyllium supplement, make sure that you are not allergic to it. Other possible side effects that are specific to psyllium are stomach cramps, skin rash, nausea, and vomiting.
Wheat dextrin and psyllium are both soluble dietary fibers with similar benefits. They both can help you lose weight. Wheat dextrin is acquired from wheat starch, so it may contain gluten. You should avoid wheat dextrin if you have the celiac disease or gluten intolerance. On the other hand, psyllium is generally safe, but some people may be allergic to psyllium.