It is known that eating plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and wholegrain foods, can improve health in the long run.
These foods usually contain lots of dietary fiber, which can reduce the digestibility of foods. It is thought that frequently eating these foods can help lose weight.
However, in a recent review, researchers point out that although plant-based foods are the basis of a healthy diet, eating them may not directly help lose weight. The paper is published in Food Hydrocolloids.
Researchers summarize the findings of previous studies about diet and weight loss. In several studies, participants took part in healthy diet programs that lasted from 3 months to 2 years.
During the programs, participants were instructed to eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, and wholegrain foods regularly. During the programs, participants tended to show reduced BMI and body weight, waist circumferences or body fat percentage.
Researchers suggest that these studies merely show that these plant-based foods are the foundation of healthy eating habits, but it is unknown whether eating these foods can directly cause weight loss.
On the other hand, studies about dietary fiber seldom claim that fiber intake can lead to weight loss. For example, 15 studies about Chitosan fiber (a fat-absorbing dietary fiber) intake showed no consistent evidence for weight loss.
Studies about guar gum fiber intake show no evidence for benefit on weight loss. So far, no studies about beta-glucans fiber and wheat bran fiber have claimed that consuming these fibers can lose weight.
Researchers suggest that it may be important to include fruits, vegetables, and wholegrain foods in a healthy diet to maintain a lower body weight in the long run. Beyond this, it is hard to say that eating these food alone can directly cause weight loss.
In addition, not all fibers are the same. It is simply not true that all fibers can “make you feel fuller ” or make the food “stays in the stomach for longer”.
Citation: Brownlee IA, Chater PI, Pearson JP, Wilcox MD. (2016). Dietary fibre and weight loss: Where are we now? Food Hydrocolloids. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2016.08.029.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is for illustrative purposes only.