Research Proven Weight Loss: Fiber

ResearchResearch

Fiber is filling and can assist with weight loss.

We all know that fiber helps with lowering your cholesterol and risk of colon cancer.  In my opinion, when it comes to losing weight, one simple piece of advice may be more helpful than all the diet books, exercise, calorie counting, and portion measuring put together: Eat more fiber.  

Fiber is filling and its expanding nature stimulates nerves to cause full feelings.   One supportive study looked at oat fiber the has a positive effect on perceptions of satiety​[1]​.  This study indicates that B-glucan from oats stimulates satiety and reduces the further feelings of hunger and stops further eating.  Another study looked at guar gum fiber supplementation and it showed that 2 grams of this soluble fiber resulted in a 20% reduction in calorie intake in these subjects​[2]​.  

Cereal
Cereal

One of the recent promising scientific findings is the compound leptin.  It has been proven that leptin is the compound that signals fullness or satiety in mice and likely all mammals.  One promising study, that still needs more research looked at mice and cereal fiber.   The researchers found that cereal fiber induced the release of leptin in mice and reduced appetite​[3]​.  Fiber caused a feeling of satiety in mice and the question is whether it will work in humans.  

Liu did a retrospective study to look at fiber intake and obesity and found that fiber intake is inversely related to the rate of obesity.  Simply put, the higher the fiber intake, the lower the rate of obesity​[4]​.  Although, it did not show that fiber can cause weight loss, it doe show that women who take in less fiber are more likely to be obese.  Another study that is similar showed the same relationship in men but it also looked at grain, bran, and cereal fiber​[5]​.  

Bran Cereal

The ADA 2006 Dietary Guidelines points to the benefits of a high fiber diet​[6]​.  One of them being by Pereira and it showed that fiber intake alone can increase weight loss​[7]​.   In this study, children lost weight with nothing more than the addition of fiber to their diets.  There are plenty of studies that indicate that weight may reduce with the addition of more fiber.  

Warning!
Whole grain is not always whole grain. Watch the labels. If it does not have 5 grams of fiber or more, choose something else.

The bottom line: Fiber is not a magical bean that will grown the weight loss bean stock.  Weight loss is all calories.  That being said, fiber makes you feel more full and may help you reduce your intake.  I recommend at least 35-45 grams of fiber per day while you are trying to diet.  Do I think it will work all dieters, absolutely not, but it does work for me.  

References:

  1. [1]
    C. Rebello, C. O’Neil, and F. Greenway, “Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety.,” Nutr Rev, vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 131–47, Feb. 2016, doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv063. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26724486
  2. [2]
    T. Rao, “Role of guar fiber in appetite control.,” Physiol Behav, vol. 164, no. Pt A, pp. 277–83, Oct. 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.06.014. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27317834
  3. [3]
    R. Zhang et al., “Effects of cereal fiber on leptin resistance and sensitivity in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat/cholesterol diet.,” Food Nutr Res, vol. 60, p. 31690, Aug. 2016, doi: 10.3402/fnr.v60.31690. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27534844
  4. [4]
    S. Patel, A. Malhotra, D. White, D. Gottlieb, and F. Hu, “Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women.,” Am J Epidemiol, vol. 164, no. 10, pp. 947–54, Nov. 2006, doi: 10.1093/aje/kwj280. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16914506
  5. [5]
    P. Koh-Banerjee et al., “Changes in whole-grain, bran, and cereal fiber consumption in relation to 8-y weight gain among men.,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 80, no. 5, pp. 1237–45, Nov. 2004, doi: 10.1093/ajcn/80.5.1237. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531671
  6. [6]
    American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. et al., “Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee.,” Circulation, vol. 114, no. 1, pp. 82–96, Jul. 2006, doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.176158. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16785338
  7. [7]
    M. Pereira and D. Ludwig, “Dietary fiber and body-weight regulation. Observations and mechanisms.,” Pediatr Clin North Am, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 969–80, Aug. 2001, doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(05)70351-5. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11494646
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About the Author

ChuckH
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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