One simple dietary change may be enough to lose weight, improve health

Dietary advice that emphasizes just one rule – consume at least 30g of fiber a day – is nearly as effective as advice to follow the more complicated American Heart Association (AHA) diet plan for inducing weight loss and improving metabolic symptoms, according to an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The AHA diet is proven effective for preventing and treating metabolic syndrome, but the diet’s many rules may make adherence a challenge for some. Researchers hypothesized that a more permissive diet that focused on one dietary change would be superior to the AHA intervention for weight loss, dietary quality, metabolic health, and adherence. The researchers randomly assigned 240 adults with metabolic syndrome to follow either the AHA diet plan (eat more fruits and vegetables; eat whole grain/high fiber foods; eat fish twice weekly; consume lean proteins; minimize sugar and sodium intake; limit alcohol; aim for a specific ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats; and limit saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol) or to increase their daily fiber intake to at least 30g a day. Patients in both groups were given instructions on their diets but had no exercise requirements.

At one year, participants in both diet groups lost weight and showed improvement in blood pressure, dietary quality, and insulin resistance. While the AHA diet group lost more weight (up to 3.7 lbs), the authors conclude that a simplified approach to weight reduction may be a reasonable alternative for persons with difficulty adhering to more complicated diet regimens.

Source: AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS