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Increased dietary fiber intake aided weight loss, other areas of diet

Diets high in fiber can increase weight loss and improve untargeted areas of diet, according to study findings.

“Dietary counseling that encourages patients to increase their intake of healthier foods may result in displacement of unhealthy foods,” Sherry Pagoto, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., told Endocrine Today. “This may be a healthy approach, especially for patients who report feeling deprived on restrictive diets.”

Sherry Pagoto

Sherry Pagoto

Pagoto and colleagues performed a subanalysis of data from a randomized trial of 121 adults with metabolic syndrome (mean BMI, 35 kg/m2) evaluating a nutritional plan in which fiber was increased to 30 g per day to determine the effect on weight loss and overall diet. During 12 months, participants received 14 sessions of dietary counseling. Food-intake recalls were conducted at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months.

Overall, fiber was increased by 38% at 3 months, 34% at 6 months and 25% at 12 months. A mean weight loss of 4.6 lb was observed during the 12-month period.

Significant improvement was noted in five different areas, including calorie intake (P=.001), consumption of fish (P=.03), lean protein (P=.04), sodium (P=.001), saturated fat (P=.001) and cholesterol (P=.001).

“We found that counseling patients to eat a high-fiber diet resulted in many other healthy changes to diet, including reduced sugars, sugary beverages, fat, sodium and cholesterol intake,” Pagoto said. “We may not need to counsel patients on every aspect of diet because some dietary changes produce healthy collateral changes in other areas of diet.”

However, she said future trials should aim to explore simple nutritional messages instead of “complex diets that require attention to multiple macronutrients and food groups” and should “test permissive (eat more healthy food) vs. restrictive (eat less unhealthy food) diet goals.” – by Amber Cox

For more information:

Pagoto S. Abstract T-3113-OR. Presented at: Obesity Week; Nov. 2-7, 2014; Boston.

Disclosure: Pagoto reports financial ties with Empower Fitness and Sears FitStudio.

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