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The rule of thumb for weight loss: Consume enough fibre

Posted:  Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Diets for weight loss could get confusing at times as they may have too many restrictions or too many contradictions. In what could be termed as good news for dieters, a recent study has found that following one simple rule, consume at least 30g of fibre a day, is nearly as effective as any other diet plan with many rules.

Published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the study hypothesised that following one simple dietary change would be superior to the American Heart Association (AHA) diet plan for weight loss, dietary quality, metabolic health, and compliance. In order to test this hypothesis, the researchers randomly assigned 240 adults with metabolic syndrome to either consume the AHA diet or to increase their fibre intake to 30 grams/day. However, participants from both the groups were given no instructions on exercise.

The AHA diet suggests eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grain/high fibre foods; consuming fish twice a week; eating lean proteins; minimising sugar and sodium intake; limiting alcohol, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol; and aiming for a specific ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

After 1 year of following the assigned diets, participants from both the groups lost weight and displayed improvement in blood pressure, dietary quality, and insulin resistance. Although the participants following the AHA diet recorded higher weight loss (up to 3.7 lbs), the researchers concluded that a simplified approach to weight loss could result in better compliance.

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