Obtaining and keeping a healthy weight can be hard work. You may have tried anything and everything from countless fad diets, counting calories or even the latest ‘miracle’ weight loss treatments only to end up frustrated and right back where you started.
But according to research out this week, ensuring you eat enough fibre everyday could be the one thing to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
The study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine investigated the benefits of a high fibre diet versus the dietary guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) in 240 participants with symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome (such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels and raised blood pressure).
The participants were split into two groups- one which followed the more structured AHA dietary guidelines which include watching calorie intake, reducing salt and limiting sugary food and drinks (all good things to do!). The other group had to up their daily fibre intake from fruits, vegetables and whole grains to 30 g.
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After 12 months the average weight loss of the AHA group was 2.7 kg and the average weight loss of the fibre group was 2.1 kg.
Hang on. Isn’t more fibre supposed to be better for weight loss?
While the AHA group did, on average, lose more weight, the researchers say that given that the only intervention in the fibre group was increasing their intake of fibre to 30 g a day, this may be a more favourable solution for people that have difficulty sticking to tailored structured programs and completely overhauling their current diet and lifestyle.
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Associate Professor Amanda Salis from Sydney University's Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders told the Sydney Morning Herald that study is encouraging in its simplicity.
"It's important to note, however, that this does not mean that fibre is the new 'magic bullet' for weight loss," she says.
Source: Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(4):248-257. doi:10.7326/M14-0611
"Rather, it's likely that when people focus on increasing their fibre intake, they also make other improvements to their diet, as a passive 'side effect'."
Did you know?
2.3 million Australians aged 15 years and over reported that they were on a diet to lose weight or for some other health reason.
Source: Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12
What works for you? Share your experience in the comments section below.