Higher Intakes of Fiber Help Prevent Weight Gain and Increases in Waist Circumference

It is known that dietary fiber may play a role in obesity prevention. The role that different individual fiber sources play in weight change is less certain. A publication in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the association of total dietary fiber, cereal fiber, and fruit and vegetable fiber with changes in weight and waist circumference.

The prospective cohort study included 89,432 European participants, aged 20–78 years, who were initially free of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Participants were followed for an average of 6.5 years. Adjustments were made for follow-up duration, dietary variables, and baseline anthropometric, demographic, and lifestyle factors.

Total fiber was inversely associated with weight and waist circumference change during the study period. For a 10 gram/day higher total fiber intake, there was an estimated 39 g/year weight loss and waist circumference decreased by 0.08 cm/year. A 10 gram/day fiber intake from cereals results in 77 g/year weight reduction and 0.10 cm/year reduction in waist circumference. Fruit and vegetable fiber was not associated with weight change but had a similar effect on waist circumference as total and cereal fiber intake.

Over a period of 6.5 years, weight gain and increases in waist circumference would be expected in typical adults. The findings of this research may support a beneficial role of higher intake of dietary fiber, especially cereal fiber, in prevention of weight and waist circumference gain.

Du H, Van der a DL, Boshuizen HC, et al. Dietary fiber and subsequent changes in body weight and waist circumference in European men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(2):329-36.