Fiber & simplicity, the keys to weight loss?

A simple weight loss method focused on increased fiber intake was about as effective as a more complicated program in a new study.

There’s hope for those lacking the moral fiber to shop for, cook for and stick to a complicated weight loss program. Dietary fiber may be the key to a simple method that helps people lose weight.

In a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers compared people who stuck to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) dietary recommendations with people who followed the far simpler advice to eat 30 grams of fiber a day. After a year, the people focused on fiber lost about as much weight as the people tracking their sugar and salt on the American Heart Association program.

Lead researcher Dr. Yunsheng Ma, M.D., Ph.D., recruited 240 overweight people who had at least one symptom of metabolic syndrome. Each was randomly assigned to follow either the “restrictive” American Heart Association Diet or the “permissive” high-fiber diet. After 12 months, the people following the AHA program lost an average of about 6 pounds, while the fiber eaters lost an average of 4.6 pounds.

Though the AHA dieters lost a bit more weight, Ma believes his results support the idea that a simple and more “permissive” kind of diet, which emphasizes what foods you can eat, as opposed to a complicated diet based on what's restricted could be easier to follow and still produce decent results, according to the

"The exact amount of information to deliver in a dietary intervention remains an elusive question,” wrote Ma in the study. "The challenge is to identify the ideal amount of information to change behavior without overwhelming the participant."

More people believe it’s easier to do their taxes than figure out how to eat healthier, according to a study commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation in 2012, notes the

Regardless of someone's current or goal weight, upping fiber consumption could be a good idea. A study published last year in the British Medical Journal linked higher fiber intake with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

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