Research: fiber intake and adherence to diet associated with weight-Loss.

Research DefinitionResearch Definition

Fiber intake and adherence to diet predict weight loss success.  



Low-fat diets have been long accepted to be the key to weight loss.  In recent years, higher fat and protein diets have also been shown to produce weight loss and these diets are all the rage in health and fitness magazines. Nearly all of us are looking for tips to increase weight loss success or to help us lose weight.  Many of the tips we receive have limited to no evidence to back them up.  Although there are no magic bullets that will make your weight loss journey effortless, there are multiple things you can do to make it easier.  One common recommendation is for you to increase your fiber content to lose weight.  This has been well studied and there is plenty of evidence to back up the use of fiber to help you lose weight.  

In 2017, the POUNDS LOST study revealed one more weight loss advantage of adding fiber to your diet[1].  In this study, researchers examined the effects of four calorie-restricted diets of varying macronutrient composition on weight loss in free-living adults with obesity.  The participants were randomized to receive one of four diets: 1) 20% fat, 15% protein; 2)20% fat, 25% protein; 3) 40% fat, 15% protein; and 4) 40% fat, 25% protein.  The objective of this analysis was to identify possible predictors of weight loss after 6 months including diet type, dietary adherence, demographics, and dietary behaviors.  In the study, dietary adherence was defined as consuming within 5% of the target macronutrient composition for fat and protein.  

Three hundred forty-five participants who provided baseline and 6-month follow-up data were included in the analyses.  The following variables were retained: Age, dietary adherence, energy density change, and fiber intake. Mean weight loss was −8.4 kg or a little over 15 pounds.  The amount of weight loss did not vary across diet-type.  The researchers did find that the higher the energy density the lower the weight loss.   The also found that age, dietary adherence, and fiber intake were inversely associated with weight change. Fiber intake was the strongest predictor of weight loss success with a 10g increase in fiber intake being associated with 2.2 kg decrease in body weight.  

The bottom line:  The findings in this study provide evidence for modifying dietary components like fiber and energy density to positively influence weight loss.  Although it does not indicate a better macronutrient balance, the energy density is associated with increasing success, but the findings for this are not as strong as the indicators provided by fiber.  I would recommend dieters always consider fiber content when they are trying to lose weight.  


D. Miketinas, G. Bray, F. Sacks, and C. Champagne, “Fiber Intake, Dietary Energy Density, and Adherence to Diet Assignment are Positively Associated with Weight-Loss in Free-Living Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets at 6-Month Follow-Up: The POUNDS LOST Study,” The FASEB Journal, vol. 31, no. 1_supplement, p. 796.2-796.2, Apr. 2017 [Online]. Available: 10.1096/fasebj.31.1_supplement.796.2″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”> [Accessed: 26-Jan-2019]
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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