More Fiber, Weigh Less

It's hard to know what to eat anymore if you want to lose weight. But new study findings add to the piles of research highlighting fiber as being the secret to actually losing weight. 

A new study evaluating 240 adults who were at risk for developing type 2 diabetes has been released from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Researchers simply asked them to change their diets for one year, with one group increasing their intake of fiber-rich foods.


More fiber = lose weight?

Those in the study who added more fiber to their otherwise normal diet, were able to lose weight, lower their blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels, which are all key factors in fighting diabetes. Researchers did identify that participants didn't lose as much weight as those who were following a more complex diet such as one recommended by the American Heart Association, but they still believe their findings are encouraging for those looking to start with small changes in their eating habits.

Half of the participants were asked to increase their fiber intake to at least 30 grams per day, requiring all fiber intake to come from foods, not supplements. This lead to eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains

The other half of the participants were asked to the follow the American Heart Association's guidelines, which requires 13 components to change your diet such as:

  • eating more fruits and vegetables
  • reducing sugar and salt intake
  • choosing lean proteins
  • cutting back on alcohol consumption
  • balancing intake of protein, carbs and fats

Researchers deemed that the high-fiber diet was simpler, easier to follow and stick with, and therefore, more effective for losing weight.

The Results:

  • 12 of the 121 high-fiber dieters dropped out during the course of the study
  • 15 of the 119 AHA dieters dropped out during the course of the study
  • Average weight loss after a year was 6 pounds for the AHA dieters
  • Average weight loss for high-fiber dieters was 4.6 pounds
  • All participants experienced lower blood pressure and reduced blood sugar levels
  • Just 8 participants development type 2 diabetes during the trial
    • 7 in the high-fiber group
    • 1 in the AHA diet group

The Thing About Fiber

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body's use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.

High-fiber foods are much richer in vitamins and essential nutrients that other food groups, an most definitely over fiber supplements. 

It's true that a simple high-fiber diet can provide immense health benefits and has proven to be easier to stick to when compared to other diets that require multiple changes in eating habits. 

Many people struggle with following complex dietary recommendations, eventually leading to falling off the wagon much sooner than they anticipated. A simple-to-follow diet that simply requires you to increase your fiber intake may be an easier alternative and a great starting point for those who have "tried everything" when it comes to losing weight.

What this study shows is that one small step can have a big impact in your battle with the bathroom scale