Dietary Patterns and Fiber in Body Weight and Composition Regulation

  • Mark L. Dreher
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


The human gastrointestinal and energy metabolism regulatory systems evolved with pre-agricultural high fiber diets (>50 g fiber/day). Prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) show that high adherence to healthy fiber-rich dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean (MedDiet), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), New Nordic, and vegetarian diets may at a minimum help to prevent weight gain and can support weight loss and lower waist circumference compared to low-fat or Western diets in overweight or obese individuals. Mechanisms associated with healthy fiber-rich dietary pattern effects on managing body weight and central obesity include: (1) reducing dietary energy density directly or displacing higher energy foods associated with the Western diet pattern; (2) lowering available metabolizable energy; and (3) increasing postprandial satiety by affecting both the upper digestive tract and colonic microbiota. Fiber intake is inversely associated with obesity risk and populations with higher fiber diets tend to be leaner than those with low fiber diets. Prospective cohort studies suggest that increased total fiber intake by ≥12 g/day to a total daily fiber intake of >25 g, especially as a replacement for refined low fiber food, can prevent weight gain by 3.5–5.5 kg each decade. RCTs show that adequate fiber intake ≥28 g fiber/day from fiber-rich diets can reduce body weight and waist circumference compared to low fiber Western diets (≤ 20 g fiber/day). Fiber-rich diets are generally more effective at promoting weight loss than fiber supplements.


Dietary patterns Mediterranean diet DASH diet New Nordic diet Vegetarian diet Western diet Dietary fiber Weight loss Energy density Obesity Overweight Body weight Waist circumference Body mass index Visceral fat 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark L. Dreher
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutrition Science Solutions LLCWimberleyUSA

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