HealthDay News — A simple high-fiber diet can provide health benefits while being easier to stick with compared with a diet calling for multiple changes in eating habits, according to researcher published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Few studies have compared diets to determine whether a program focused on one dietary change results in collateral effects on other untargeted healthy diet components,” noted Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the division of preventive and behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, and colleagues.

To evaluate a diet focused on increased fiber consumption versus the multicomponent American Heart Association (AHA) dietary guidelines, the investigators followed 240 patients who were at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Half of the participants were asked to increase their fiber intake to at least 30 grams per day. The other half were asked to follow the AHA diet guidelines, which contain 13 components, including eating more fruits and vegetables; reducing sugar and salt consumption; choosing lean proteins; cutting back on alcohol consumption; and carefully balancing intake of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Of the 121 high-fiber dieters, 12 dropped out during the course of the study, compared with 15 of the 119 AHA dieters. The average weight loss after a year was about 6 pounds for the AHA dieters and 4.6 pounds for the high-fiber followers, but all of the participants experienced lower blood pressure and reduced blood glucose levels. During the trial, seven of the high-fiber dieters and one of the AHA dieters developed type 2 diabetes.

“The more complex AHA diet may result in up to 1.7 kg more weight loss; however, a simplified approach to weight reduction emphasizing only increased fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for persons with difficulty adhering to more complicated diet regimens,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Ma Y et al. Ann Intern Med. 2015; doi: 10.7326/M14-0611