HEADLINES Published February19, 2015 By Bernadette Strong

Focusing on One Component of Diet Can Help with Weight Loss

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Focusing on fiber in the diet, as in these vegetables, can help almost as much as a more complicated diet
(Photo : Sean Gallup, Getty Images)

People who followed a diet of eating 30 grams of fiber each day lost almost as much weight as people who followed a more complicated diet, according to a study. Such a diet may not be as onerous and may be easier to follow for some people.

The study was intended to see how well a diet that centered on one component worked compared to one that involved more components. Researchers followed 240 people with metabolic syndrome for a year. Metabolic syndrome includes such problems as blood sugar and blood cholesterol issues and insulin control. Dietary fiber was chosen as the component to be evaluated because it is known to have an effect on several issues in metabolic syndrome

The participants were divided into two groups, one group who were told to increase fiber in their diet, and the other who were told to follow the more complicated American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. The participants met one-on-one and in group sessions.

The AHA diet recommends that adults get 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, but also calls for greater intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grain, or high fiber foods, and lean proteins, and cutting back on sugar, sodium, alcohol, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, and eating fish twice weekly. Participants on the AHA diet were given individualized calorie and saturated fat goals.

At the end of a year, people both groups had lost weight and improved blood pressure and insulin resistance, but the high-fiber group had lost an average of 4.5 pounds, compared to nearly 6 pounds in the AHA diet group.  The high fiber diet showed positive results and was easy to follow, which can help people stick to a diet.

"A simplified approach to weight reduction emphasizing only increased fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for persons with difficulty adhering to more complicated diet regimens," the study concluded.

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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