As we’ve seen time and again, it’s tough to lose weight.
But a new study shows there’s a key way to drop pounds – eat more fiber. The study, reported in Reuters, followed two groups. One followed the American Heart Association diet plan, while the other ate at least 30 grams of fiber a day.
Both groups lost weight, but the fiber-based group actually lost more.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a diet high in fiber can help one’s health in a variety of ways. It helps the digestive tract function properly, and may also help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Fiber can lower cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar levels.
The advantage of the fiber-based diet is the fact that it’s easy to follow. The AHA plan has a variety of factors, while fiber simply involves increases one’s fiber intake.
Fiber is naturally occurring in a variety of foods. But the amount of fiber might surprise you. A cup of split peas, cooked, contains 16.3 grams of fiber. Bran flakes, for comparison’s sake, have 5.2 grams of fiber in a ¾ cup serving.
Lentils, black beans and lima beans also are high in fiber, as are artichokes, raspberries, pears and whole-wheat spaghetti.
The new study is noteworthy because it didn’t take a complex diet to cause weight-loss. Instead, that happened simply by increasing fiber.
And there are probably a few reasons why this worked. According to the Mayo Clinic, because fiber-rich foods usually require more chewing time, they give your body time to realize you are no longer hungry, so you are less likely to overeat.
The Mayo Clinic also notes that whole foods are better in general than fiber supplements, because whole foods have more beneficial nutrients and vitamins.
While weight loss and healthy living are important, it’s also important to gradually add fiber to one’s diet. The Mayo Clinic notes that adding too much too fast “can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping.” So if you choose to pursue this, do so incrementally.
We know there are a variety of diets out there. But as this study shows, sometimes the simplest of steps can be the most effective.