Increasing Fiber Could Lower Your Weight

Typically, when we think of dieting, we think of all the foods we will have to sacrifice. Chips, cookies, ice cream, and soda are quickly added to our list of forbidden pleasures. But new research shows that losing weight isn’t just about giving up the wrong foods; it’s about choosing the right ones. Findings in a recent study indicate that increasing your intake of dietary fiber can actually promote weight loss and encourage healthier eating overall.

Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and her colleagues performed a sub-analysis of data that included 121 adults with metabolic syndrome. Participants followed a dietary plan which increased their fiber intake to 30 grams per day. Over the course of 12 months, participants received 14 dietary counseling sessions, and food intake recalls were performed at baseline, three, six and 12 months.

Overall, fiber intake was increased by 38 percent at three months, 34 percent at six months, and 25 percent at 12 months. An average weight loss of 4.6 pounds was recorded among participants over the 12-month period. Participants also showed dietary improvements in other areas, including their consumption of fish, lean protein, sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and overall caloric intake.

The study’s findings suggest that encouraging patients to make certain positive changes in their diet can result in other healthy eating habits. This could reduce the need for meticulous dietary planning, as patients may be more likely to produce positive changes on their own. Pagota suggests that future trials should “test permissive (eat more healthy food) vs. restrictive (eat less unhealthy food) diet goals” (Source: Healio).

Adding more fiber to your diet could help you make healthier food choices and drop a few unwanted pounds. Women should eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should get 30 to 38 grams (Source: Mayo Clinic). Try some of these high-fiber foods to meet your daily requirement:

  • Fruits – raspberries, pears, apples, bananas, and oranges
  • Vegetables – artichokes, peas, broccoli, turnip greens, and Brussels sprouts
  • Grains – barley, oatmeal, bran, brown rice, and whole grain pasta
  • Legumes – lentils, split peas, lima beans, black beans, and baked beans
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans and pistachios
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