Want to Prevent Belly Fat? Eat More Fiber

People who eat more soluble fiber have healthier bodies, maintain a slimmer physique, and have less risk of chronic illness, new research shows.

An apple a day may not only keep the doctor away, but may also help your jeans fit better, according to a new study. Recent findings show that the soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables prevents weight increase and leads to better overall physical health by limiting the amount of fat and calories the body absorbs.

The research showed that when people increase the soluble fiber in their daily diet, for every ten grams consumed, 3.7 percent less belly fat is gained over time. Soluble fiber is found primarily in fruits, vegetables, and beans.

Dr. Kristen Hairston, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, claimed that this study “reinforces the notion most people have that fiber is a good thing.”

The body houses two different kinds of fat. Visceral fat, which is belly fat, surrounds the internal organs and has been linked to chronic illnesses. Subcutaneous fat is found under the skin and is less of a health concern. The latest study indicates that the more fiber consumed, the lower the increase in belly fat, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease and other illnesses associated with excess visceral fat.

“Whole grains and then soluble fiber and physical activity may help decrease the increase in visceral fat with age. It may slow it down, prevent it,” said Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at Penn State University, in an interview with MyHealthNewsDaily. Her own research has shown a correlation between increased fiber intake and a reduction in heart disease, although Kris-Etherton was not involved with the latest study.

The study, published online last month in the journal Obesity, looked at data for 1,100 Hispanic and African American men and women monitored over five years. Researchers recorded dietary factors, as well as exercise levels and smoking habits for each participant. Findings showed that although consuming fiber may not cause weight loss, it does result in improved overall physical health and lessens the amount of visceral fat in the body.

Noted Dr. Hairston “Ten grams above what you’re doing separated those who didn’t gain as much as others, and may be a guidepost for people.”


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