A high fiber diet is all you really need.
The new federal dietary guidelines are likely to include a section on the importance of a plant-based diet, and with good reason. Plant-based diets are loaded with fiber from legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and new research shows that fiber is the key to staying slim and trim. We’ve long known that fiber keeps you fuller, longer but what we didn’t know was that it was more effective at weight loss than cutting calories.
A new study found that a high fiber diet is incredibly good for weight loss, according to The Atlantic. Researchers followed 240 participants split into two groups. One group was instructed to follow an American Heart Association recommended diet. It’s actually quite complicated and mandates “consuming vegetables and fruits; eating whole grains and high-fiber foods; eating fish twice weekly; consuming lean animal and vegetable proteins; reducing intake of sugary beverages; minimizing sugar and sodium intake; and maintaining moderate to no alcohol intake.” Dieters in this group were also asked to cut 500 to 1,000 calories from their daily intake. The other group was asked simply to eat more fiber, shooting for 25-30 grams per day. This is the recommended amount, but few people actually reach this goal.
After one year, the high fiber group lost 4.6 pounds while the AHA group lost 6 pounds. The high fiber group lost nearly as many pounds with zero pain. While the AHA group lost slightly more but had to follow a complicated diet that involved cutting calories, the fiber group was eating twice as much fiber as the other group and lost nearly as much. Fiber is usually found in healthy whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
“A dietary intervention focusing on a targeted fiber goal may be able to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss similar to the widely applied, but more intense, AHA dietary guidelines,” wrote the authors, reported The Atlantic. They think this might be because, as past studies have suggested, it’s easier to follow one dietary rule than it is to adhere to a whole new life plan.
The benefit of the high fiber diet is that it’s streamlined and it’s simple enough that more people could follow it without struggle for extended periods of time. It could even be a lifestyle way of eating.
Over a five year period, after I stopped eating meat, I noticed that the extra weight I was carrying around fell off. Looking back, I’m convinced that this is because vegetarian diets tend to be high fiber because the protein sources like vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds all contain fiber. After a while, your body just cannot hold weight like it once could because your digestive system is running smoothly and because fiber keeps you fuller longer.
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