How Important Is Fiber Intake For Weight Loss?

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Nutrition literature abounds with countless articles reciting the many benefits of including liberal amounts of dietary fiber in your diet.  High fiber diets have been found to help normalize bowel movements and reducing the risk for hemorrhoids and diverticulosis and may also reduce cholesterol levels, slow carbohydrate (sugar) digestion, and perhaps even reduce risk for colon cancer.

Interestingly, fiber intake has also been promoted as a means to help manage body weight. Various mechanisms have been discussed for this, including increasing one’s sense of fullness during a meal, reducing the glycemic index of foods and changing the balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract to changing how our body burns fuel.

But how effective is dietary fiber intake really in preventing weight gain?

A large study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The relationship between body weight and fiber intake was studied found to only make a difference in weight by a matter of a few ounces and a difference in abdominal circumference by a fraction of an inch over the course of a year

With beneficial effects of dietary fiber amounting to only a few ounces and fractions of an inch, this fuss about fiber as a weight loss supplement doesn’t seem worthwhile.

For now, let’s stop worrying about fiber intake for weight management and focus on what really matters: calories.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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