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How 12 men and women lost 2,500 pounds: Why fiber is important for weight loss

Find out what to eat for your own best body.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz

When it comes to weight loss, dieting can sometimes feel like an endless battle of the bulge. But regardless of how much you have to lose, it's not impossible if you know the keys. Dr. Travis Stork offered tips and featured 12 men and women who lost a total of 2,500 pounds on the August 7 episode of "The Doctors."

Julie, Melissa and Luke each lost 100 pounds. Their realization that they had children who deserved healthy parents motivated them to take off the pounds. But in each case, it required dramatic lifestyle changes.

Luke, for example, is a former athlete. When he got married and focused on his career, he continued to eat the same enormous meals.

"I was drinking over 2,000 calories in soda a day," he said. "I was probably eating 5,000 to 6,000 calories a day. Here I am, teaching and coaching my students to have discipline, when I had none myself."

In the case of Desiree, a series of traumatic events caused her to turn to food for comfort. She gained 200 pounds in two years.

"Food was my only source of happiness, and the reason I got out of bed on certain days," she admitted. "When I look at old pictures of myself, behind that smile, there is so much pain."

The other weight loss success stories had their own struggles in taking off the pounds. But what they shared in common: A determination to get and stay healthy.

Dr. Travis has some suggestions if you want to lose weight as well. He has developed three keys to weight loss: Eat protein at each meal, kick your sugar habit and boost your fiber intake on a low carb diet.

The recommendation to eat more fiber for weight loss is supported by registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot, author of the "Miracle Carb Diet," as well. In an exclusive interview on August 7, she explained, "Fiber and weight loss go hand and hand. High fiber foods are lower in calories and actually help boost metabolism. "

In addition, fiber helps you stay full longer, while cutting down on cravings because it takes longer to digest. Weight loss thus becomes easier. "Fiber acts like a sponge in your digestive system, soaking up excess calories, fats, and sugars from a meal and eliminating them before the body absorbs them," she added.

Tanya agrees with Dr. Travis that adding protein to your diet is the best approach for weight loss and overall health. "A diet that combines fiber and lean protein at each meal is ideal for weight loss and for anti-aging," she said.

If you're having problems getting started on a high-fiber, high protein diet, Tanya suggests making simple swaps. For example, instead of toast with jam for breakfast, try a cup of raspberries with Greek yogurt.

Following these suggestions to eliminate sugar from your diet while eating more protein and fiber can do more than help with weight loss. Author of "The Doctor's Diet" weight loss book, Dr. Travis says that eating the right food (and avoiding the wrong food) "can save our lives."

In particular, eliminating junk food and processed carbohydrates can help you emotionally as well as physically. Several studies show that these changes can alleviate depression, reported the Delhi Daily News on August 5.

One study, for example, conducted by scientists from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth found that diets containing sugar and soft drinks lead to a higher risk of behavioral and emotional problems. Another study indicated that Mediterranean-style diets can help with depression.

Researchers at Victoria's Deakin University currently are studying people with depression to see how they might benefit from a fiber-rich high protein diet. Foods included are vegetables, fruit and whole grains, oily fish, olive oil, legumes and raw unsalted nuts, as well as lean red meat and reduced fat dairy.

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