Fad diets come and go and come and go and usually, they don’t work. At least, not in the long term. But if you’re looking to lose weight, and then maintain a healthy weight, the answer might be a simple one: eat more fiber.
That’s the finding of a recent study published in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study compared the benefits of a rather complicated American Heart Association recommended diet, which on top of its complex recommendations also included reducing calories by as much as 1,000 per day, to simply adding more fiber-rich foods. No calorie counting, no eliminating, just eating more fibrous foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and grains.
While the American Heart Association group did lose a good bit of weight in the year of the study, about six pounds, the group of subjects who didn’t do anything complicated to their diet regimen but just eat more fiber, lost nearly as much: 4.6 pounds. “It was a pretty small difference, but the AHA group suffered greatly for it: They were cutting more than twice as many calories per day, around 400, as the fiber group had been,” reports the Atlantic. “Fiber is also a part of the AHA diet, but the fiber group was eating about twice as much of it as the other participants. There was no difference in blood pressure or fasting glucose levels between the groups at the end of the experiment. In other words, the people killing themselves to meet a raft of rules did roughly as well as the people who were simply eating more beans and apples.”
More beans and apples. That sounds pretty doable, right? Let’s face it; many diet programs, like the AHA recommendation, can be intimidating just by the sheer work involved. People have a difficult enough time getting into the kitchen to prepare meals in the first place. Add to that counting sodium levels, calories and serving sizes? It’s too much. But just increasing the amount of fiber-rich foods doesn’t involve measuring and counting. According to the Atlantic, most people eat half of the recommended daily intake for fiber, which is 25-30 grams per day. It’s just the difference between eating a cookie for a snack or say, an apple. Or if you really have to have the cookie, make it oatmeal (fiber!).
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