Science

Simple Diet Solution: Eat More Fiber; New Dangers Linked to Smoking

Fiber-Rich Foods Reap Weight-Loss, Other Benefits

Simply eating more fiber-rich foods can promote nearly as much weight-loss results as more complex diets, and the benefits to overall health are numerous, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, matched or improved upon the effects of a diet promoted by the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA’s diet covers 13 components, and its participants lost slightly more weight than fiber-focused dieters. But the difference was negligible.

The point of the comparison: You don’t have to re-invent the wheel when it comes to a healthy diet that helps you lose weight and lowers your risk for heart disease and other common conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

“The more complex AHA diet resulted in slightly larger (but not statistically significant) weight loss, but a simplified approach emphasizing only increased fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for individuals who find it difficult adhering to a more complicated diet,” lead researcher Dr. Yunsheng Ma, associate professor of medicine, explained in a press release.

Those who took part in the fiber diet were able to lose weight, lower blood pressure and improve insulin response. All 240 of the volunteers participating in the study had symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol, and were overweight.

Researchers stressed that the diet is most effective when fiber is sourced from whole fruits, vegetables and proteins — not via supplements. Other healthy food items high in fiber include: whole grains like barley and oats; vegetables like spinach and carrots; legumes like chickpeas and lima beans; fruits like apples and bananas; and proteins like seeds and nuts.

Here’s more on nutrition:

  • Nutrition and Heart Disease: Portion Control, Risk Control
  • Are You Fruit Smart?
  • Watch Now: Fruits, Vegetables and Weight Loss
  • More Diseases Linked to Smoking

    How fatal is cigarette smoking? The dangers may be far greater than previously reported, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    In a 2014 report, the U.S. Surgeon General linked cigarette smoking to more than 480,000 deaths from 21 underlying diseases. Those diseases include a dozen types of cancer, six forms of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], and pneumonia.

    But a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine links cigarette smoking to five other diseases, including certain intestinal disease, infections and  kidney disease,  and says that connection between smoking and those diseases adds  an additional 60,000 to the Surgeon General’s annual total. The new study tracked  532,651 women  532,651 women, age 55 and older.

    “The rate of death from renal failure was twice as high among current smokers as among persons who never smoked, a finding that is consistent with results from case–control studies,” the report says.  “Smoking is an important cause of the cardiovascular risk factors for renal failure but may also directly impair kidney function.”

    Related articles:

  • Smokeout: Reclaim Your Health by Quitting Now
  • Improving Your Odds Against Lung Cancer
  • Watch Now: Lung Cancer Screening Saved His Life
  • Healthcare that Cares

    With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 13 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.