The Fiber Road to Weight Loss

Diets are everywhere! Eat nothing but meat and lose 20 pounds? Subsist on strictly lemon juice and drop 5 pounds by Sunday? How about eating only raw foods to drop 20 pounds in a month? The only problem? They aren't safe, they don't work and the pounds jump back on the instant you stop treating your body like you just don't care. A recent study proposed a new approach: don't stop eating ANYTHING, just add this to your diet! The research says that it works almost as well as top-notch, but restrictive, diets. Here's what you should know.

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts attracted 240 people to a new diet study. Half of the volunteers adopted a diet recommended by the American Heart Association. It is a safe and effective diet, but it requires a textbook to understand and a lot of will power to follow. Reducing calorie intake by 500-1,000 calories a day is not easy, regardless of how motivated the dieter may be.

The other half of the volunteers were not asked to reduce their caloric intake at all. Instead, they were instructed to continue their current eating AND eat more fiber. High fiber foods include most veggies (especially if uncooked), most fruits, whole grains and beans. Again, volunteers in this group were allowed (encouraged) to eat whatever they wanted, as long as they added daily fiber to the mix.

After a year on these diets, the two groups' weight loss were compared. The group on the heart diet lost a commendable 6 pounds on average. The high fiber group lost a still respectable 4.5 pounds. The two groups had very similar health markers (blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting glucose level), too!

These results were encouraging, especially for people who don't like complicated diets or denying themselves dessert. Although the heart diet did produce a bit more weight loss, most people preferred the flexibility and full stomachs of the high fiber alternative.

So, what makes sense for you? Maximum weight loss at maximum effort? Or moderate weight loss for almost no effort at all?

Let us know what you decide!

1 comment:

  1. I don't think it was necessarily the high fiber that caused the weight loss. It was certainly a mindset that allowed for "restricted" foods to be enjoyed on occasion that allows a person to drop weight instead. A rigid weight loss program only sets most people up for failure! That's been my experience from losing over 125 pounds and keeping it off almost 6 years. And that's what I work with my health coaching clients on. They're so eager to jump on a fad diet and beat themselves up for not following through... I don't work like that. It's too bad that we live in an instant gratification world. :(