Don't want to overhaul your diet all at once? Just add fiber

One single dietary change might be enough to reverse the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and help individuals lose weight: eating more fiber.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that increased fiber consumption provided the same results as the standard dietary recommendations provided by the American Heart Association (AHA) for treating metabolic syndrome.

The study included 240 adult patients with metabolic syndrome who were an average of 52 years old. Subjects were assigned to either a high-fiber eating program or an AHA-recommended diet.

The fiber group ate at least 30 grams of fiber per day, while the other group was given instructions on increasing fiber intake, decreased consumption of saturated fat and limiting alcohol, among other recommendations.

Overall improvements

After 12 months, weight loss between both groups was about the same, as were improvements in insulin resistance, fasting insulin levels and blood pressure.

For patients who have a hard time adhering to several dietary changes at once – such as people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes – starting with increased fiber intake may a "reasonable alternative" to overhauling everything at once, the researchers said.

"A dietary message that focuses on one dietary component, such as dietary fiber, is permissive – it encourages an increase in a healthy behavior – versus the AHA diet's restrictive message, which advises persons to limit an unhealthy behavior," the researchers wrote.

The message is not to increase fiber intake while maintaining other unhealthy habits, the researchers said, but it may be a starting point for individuals who are ready to make dietary changes for long-term health.

Source: Medscape

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