Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study

J Nutr. 2019 Oct 1;149(10):1742-1748. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz117.


Background: The effects of dietary composition on weight loss are incompletely understood. In addition to energy intake, fiber intake, energy density, macronutrient composition, and demographic characteristics have all been suggested to contribute to weight loss.

Objective: The primary aim of this analysis was to assess the role of dietary fiber as a predictor of weight loss in participants who consumed calorie-restricted diets (-750 kcal/d from estimated energy needs) for 6 mo, using data from the POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study-a randomized trial that examined the effects of calorie-restricted diets varying in macronutrient composition on weight loss in adults.

Methods: Data were randomly partitioned to a training data set (70%) in which the effects of fiber and other weight-loss predictors were identified using adjusted Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator and model averaging. The retained predictors were then fit on the testing data set to assess predictive performance.

Results: Three hundred and forty-five participants (53.9% female) provided dietary records at baseline and 6 mo. Mean ± SD age and BMI for the full sample was 52.5 ± 8.7 y and 32.6 ± 3.9 kg/m2, respectively. Mean ± SD (99% CI) weight change at 6 mo for the full sample was -7.27 ± 5.6 kg (-8.05, -6.48 kg). The final, best fit model (R2 = 0.41) included fiber, energy density, fat, age, adherence, baseline weight, race, and changes from baseline in carbohydrate, fiber, PUFA, and MUFA intake, but the most influential predictor was fiber intake ($\hat{\beta }$ = -0.37; P < 0.0001). In addition, fiber was strongly associated with adherence to the macronutrient prescriptions (P < 0.0001). Interactions between race and adherence, age, baseline weight, carbohydrate, energy density, and MUFAs were also retained in the final model.

Conclusion: Dietary fiber intake, independently of macronutrient and caloric intake, promotes weight loss and dietary adherence in adults with overweight or obesity consuming a calorie-restricted diet. This trial was registered at as NCT00072995.

Keywords: LASSO; dietary adherence; energy density; fiber; obesity; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*


  • Dietary Fiber

Associated data