Eat Fiber, Lose Weight

Did You Know…This Simple Rule Can Help You Finally Reach Your Weight Goal, and Improve Your Overall Health and Well-being While You Do It?

Losing weight—and keeping it off—is notoriously difficult.  For one thing, most diet plans are confusing and unsustainable.  A group of researchers recently addressed that problem head on by devising a diet approach based on one simple rule that actually works: “eat more fiber.”

Why Keeping It Simple Works 

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School enrolled 240 participants for the study, half of whom followed the American Heart Association (AHA) diet, and half of whom simply ate more fibrous foods.  The AHA diet requires adherence to 13 complex guidelines, including…

  • Limiting calories
  • Reducing sugar and salt consumption
  • Eating highly specific ratios of fat, carbohydrates, protein and cholesterol
  • Drinking little or no alcohol

The other approach relied on just one guideline, that participants consume at least 30 grams of fiber daily.  The researchers found that both diets led to significant weight loss…lower blood pressure…and improved insulin resistance.

According to the findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the AHA group did lose slightly more weight, but only by the slimmest margin—1.4 pounds over the course of an entire year! Such a slight difference hardly justifies the complexity of the AHA diet plan, or cutting out twice as many calories (about 400 more each day).

Evade Diabetes, Heart Disease, and More 

Further highlighting the power of the fiber strategy is the fact that there was no difference between the two groups for other important markers like blood pressure and fasting glucose.  The researchers were delighted to see those improvements, as blood pressure and glucose are key indicators of your risk of developing heart problems…diabetes… and other health conditions.

In addition to benefits linked to the fiber itself, the UMass team theorized that the simplicity of the diet made it easier for participants to follow.  Though it was not required, participants reported making many other healthy dietary changes, perhaps because the high-fiber foods they were eating replaced other, less nutritious items.  In other words, adding fiber can have other, unexpected benefits!

The Great Fiber Deficit 

Experts recommended consuming 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, but very few people do. Less than 3% of Americans, in fact, meet their daily fiber intake quota.

High Fiber Options

Though whole grains are strongly associated with high fiber content, they are not even close to being the most concentrated source of fiber.  So, what are the best high-fiber foods? 

       Split peas, 16.3 grams per cup
       Lentils, 15.6 grams per cup
       Black beans, 15 grams per cup

Lima beans, 13.2 grams per cup

       Artichokes, 10.3 grams per medium vegetable
       Raspberries, 8 grams per cup
       Blackberries, 7.6 grams per cup
       Bran flakes, 7 grams per cup
       Avocados, 6.7 grams per half
       Whole-wheat pasta, 6.3 grams per cup
       Pearled barley, 6 grams per cup
       Pears, 5.5 grams per medium fruit
       Broccoli, 5.1 grams per cup
       Brussels sprouts, 4.1 grams per cup
       Oatmeal, 4 grams per cup

Now that you know which foods are true fiber superstars, work on incorporating them into your diet. It’s as simple as that!