Eating more fiber — and less fat — can triple your weight loss according to preliminary clinical research.Finnish researchers analyzed the diets of 500 middle-age obese men and women, and found that those who consumed more fiber and less fat lost three times the weight over a 3-year period than those consuming a high-fat, low-fiber diet. This same group was also 62% less likely to develop diabetes!
How does fiber work such wonders? For one thing, fiber helps with appetite control, because it bulks up in your stomach, so you feel fuller longer. Traveling through your digestive system, fiber carries away some fat. This — plus the lower calorie count of fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables — reduces total energy intake.Certain kinds of fiber — like the resistant starch found in bananas — directly increase fat metabolism by blocking conversion of some carbohydrates into glucose.Finally, the overall nutrient density of fruit and vegetables helps curtail deficiency-fueled overeating.
How much fiber (and less fat) is needed to get these effects? The “biggest losers” in the latest study consumed more than 32 grams per 2,000 calories. This is not as difficult as it sounds: Start with a banana with breakfast, have a medium pear as a midmorning snack, a small romaine salad and a bowl of bean-laden chili for lunch, a half-cup of raspberries as an afternoon snack and add a side of broccoli to the baked potato with skin you have at dinner and you’re at 32 grams! In addition, reducing fat intake to less than 30% of total calories is easily achieved by favoring fish and vegetable proteins over red meat and full-fat dairy.
Bonus: High-fiber diets also reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Published October 1, 2008