Adding more fiber can be as good for weight loss as a more complicated change of both diet and exercise. This was demonstrated by a study conducted by the University Of Massachusetts Medical School. The results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on February 17th, 2015.
Fiber and Weight Loss
The study used 240 volunteers that were separated into two groups. All of the volunteers had metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the research. Meaning they had high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and were overweight.
Group One followed the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations of eating more fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, fish and lean protein. While also cutting back on salt, sugar, fat and alcohol. Group Two was instead instructed to just add fiber to their diet. As far as fiber, each group ate about 19 grams daily. Exercise was not added to either group’s recommendation.
At the end of the study, both groups lowered their blood pressure, improved their response to insulin and lost weight. Group One lost 5.9 pounds on average, while Group Two lost 4.6 pounds. Both groups were able to maintain their weight loss for the 12 months.
The significance of the study is that weight loss can be achieved by making a simple change to your diet. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive for the dietary guidelines of the AHA. It means that if you find it harder to make numerous changes to your diet and lifestyle, then you can start small. For example, like consuming more fiber.
Weight loss is especially important, if you’re overweight, because it reduces the risk of other health issues such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes – some of which can be life-threatening.
Add More Fiber to Your Diet
While it’s possible to add fiber to a diet through fiber-fortified foods like breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers, fiber from whole foods is better (for several reasons). Use a goal of 20 to 25 grams of fiber per day. Fiber can cause bloating and gas, so increase your daily fiber content gradually. That way you can give your body some time to adjust.
Good sources of natural fiber include beans and lentils, whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Beans and lentils are particularly beneficial as they are not only a good source of fiber, but also lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
Adding fiber to your diet from the above sources is a great way to start a healthy diet. By eating fiber-rich foods, you will stay fuller longer and snack less. Refined grains, salt, sugar and saturated fats are most commonly found in snacks. Start by adding more fiber to your diet and you’re one step closer toward improving your health.