Few Drawbacks to Following a Low-Fat, High-Fiber Diet
healthy diet that is low in fat, high in fiber and rich in fruits and
vegetables may seem fraught with sacrifice, but it actually adds to a
sense of personal satisfaction, according to a new study.
studies have shown that people who follow this type of diet reduce
their risks of developing heart disease, some forms of cancer, stroke
who adopted and maintained the [study] eating plan for four years
reported greater confidence in their ability to care for their health,
greater belief that food choices would improve health and more
awareness of health and nutrition messages," said lead author Donald
Corle of the National Cancer Institute.
the common perceptions of low-fat diets, participants did not report
any detrimental effects of the eating plan on taste, cost, the
convenience of shopping for and preparing foods, their overall health
assessment and general well-being or satisfaction with life," Corle
All of the
participants in this study had experienced a polyp in their large
bowel; 194 people agreed to change their diets to prevent a recurrence
and 200 people continued their typical eating regimen. On average,
study participants were about 60 years old when the study began in
Those on the
healthy diet were counseled to obtain approximately 20 percent of their
calories from fat, to consume 18 grams of dietary fiber per 1,000
calories and to have three-and-a-half servings of fruits and vegetables
per 1,000 calories. (The last requirement worked out to five to eight
servings per day.)
also kept detailed records of the food they ate and received more than
60 hours of counseling on behavior modification techniques and
nutrition, which included assistance with meal preparation and recipe
four-year period, participants were asked to rate the effect of their
dietary changes. The questions focused on "changes in self-perceived
physical and emotional well-being, satisfaction with diet and
self-care," the researchers said. "Our findings suggest that a low-fat,
high-fiber, fruit-and-vegetable-enriched eating plan can be adopted
without negative impact on overall perception of quality of life."
The only hint
of difficulty, they said, was in maintaining the diet while eating away
from home, with those eating the healthier diet reporting more problems
when eating with others than did those who did not modify their diets.
speculated that the counseling, combined with the increased
availability of low-fat products in the supermarkets, helped make the
healthier diet more convenient for participants.
many positive changes in quality of life perceptions were reported by
participants," Corle said, adding that this type of diet can be
recommended without fear of negative results.
Results of the research were published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.