Although diets low in carbohydrates and high in protein became quite popular in the past, scientific research indicates that “normal-weight” adults tend to eat more foods high in fiber than people who are overweight or obese.
According to the researchers, no magic formula exists when it comes to losing weight, but the results of their study indicate that a diet containing more than average amounts of fiber, complex carbohydrate and fruit is associated with normal body weight.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association on June 22, 2006, researchers at the University of Texas-Austin looked at the diets of more than 100 people of about the same age and height; half were considered normal weight and half were overweight or obese.
The researchers found that the diets of the two groups were similar in many ways, including intakes of sugar, bread, dairy products, and vegetables. The main difference between the groups: Normal-weight adults consume about 33 percent more dietary fiber and 43 percent more complex carbohydrates each day than people who are obese.
Eating fewer animal products would be an essential part of this process. A high fiber diet is bulkier than a low fiber diet and this is probably much of the reason why it is associated with lower body fat – one fills up on fewer calories. In addition, more fibrous food tends to be digested more slowly, thus slowing the return of hunger.
Fiber combats type 2 diabetes
It is becoming evident that a high fiber diet has other health benefits apart from weight loss. Scientific studies show that patients with type 2 diabetes, who eat a high fiber diet had significantly lower blood levels of glucose and cholesterol than patients on a more normal diet. It seems that the high consumption of cereal fiber seems to reduce the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes in the first place.
How do you increase the fiber in your diet?
- Minimize foods that contain no fiber at all. These include all animal products and in addition, highly refined plant foods, most notably sugar.
- Avoid products that are high in sugar and low in fiber such as soft drinks and sweets.
- Minimize consumption of partially refined plant foods. These include white flour, white bread, white pasta, and white rice.
- Include foods high in fiber: whole pasta, brown rice and other whole grains such as oats, barley, amaranth, quinoa, and flaxseed (linseed). Wholemeal flour contains about three times as much fiber as white flour and brown rice about four times as much fiber as white rice.
- Eat lots of high fiber foods such as beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, and flaxseed. In fact, most vegetables, apart from very starchy ones like potatoes, are excellent sources of fiber.
Consuming a high fiber diet should help you lose weight. But let us keep in mind that adequate exercise, portion control, and calorie restraint go hand in hand as part of a healthy program that will make you lose pounds. Incorporating one of these practices will help, no question about, but if you want real results, you need to make all of them part of our life.