Here’s the trick: Instead of depriving yourself of all your favorite indulgences or meticulously counting calories, simply consume at least 30 grams of fiber daily. This simple, no-fuss method fuels weight loss and improves health just as effectively as more complex diet approaches, say University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers.
To come to this finding, the UMass researchers recruited 240 people and divided them into two groups: One group was told to follow the American Heart Association’s (AHA) diet recommendations for those at risk of developing diabetes; The other group was put on a simple high-fiber diet and was told to eat more foods rich in the nutrient like fruits, veggies and whole grains. None of the subjects changed their exercise habits. Although both diets required participants to eat at least 30 grams of fiber per day, the AHA dieters also had to adhere to salt, cholesterol, fat and alcohol limitations. After a year both groups lost about the same amount of weight and showed similar improvements in their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels—all common markers of metabolic syndrome.
“Very few people reach the goals that are recommended,” said lead study author Yunsheng Ma, M.D., Ph.D., adding, “Telling people to reduce this or reduce that is just too hard to do.” However, asking people to focus on eating more of a certain nutrient—rather than eliminating things from their diet–can help people reach their weight loss goals, he explains to Time.com. Interested in giving the diet strategy a try? Check out The 11 Best High-Fiber Foods for Weight Loss and start slimming down!