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Eating More Fiber Helped People Lose Weight, Researchers Report

MONDAY, Feb. 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A simple high-fiber diet can provide health benefits while being easier to stick with than a diet calling for multiple changes in eating habits, a new clinical trial concludes.

People who only added more fiber to their otherwise normal diet were able to lose weight, lower their blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels — all key to staving off diabetes and improving overall health.


They didn’t lose quite as much weight as people following a more complex lifestyle diet recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). But the study authors contend that their findings are encouraging for those daunted by complicated guidelines.

“For people who find it difficult to follow complex dietary recommendations, a simple-to-follow diet with just one message — increase your fiber intake — may be the way to go,” said study author Dr. Yunsheng Ma, an associate professor in the division of preventive and behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study involved 240 adults who were at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers asked them to change their diets for one year.

Half were just asked to increase their fiber intake to at least 30 grams per day. They had to get their fiber from foods, not supplements, which meant eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods. Otherwise, they could eat whatever they wanted.

“High-fiber foods are rich in vitamins and other essential nutrients, so they provide many benefits” over fiber supplements, Ma said.

The other half were asked to follow the AHA diet guidelines, which contain 13 components, researchers said. These include eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing sugar and salt consumption, choosing lean proteins, cutting back on alcohol consumption, and carefully balancing intake of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

The researchers theorized that the high-fiber diet would be easier to follow, easier to stick with and, thus, more effective.

As it turned out, 12 of the 121 high-fiber dieters dropped out during the course of the study, compared with 15 of the 119 AHA dieters.

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