High Fiber or Low Fat...Which Diet is Best?

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Melissa Montalto has made fiber a priority . And weight gain a thing of the past. "When I know I'm eating a high-fiber diet, and I'm getting all those whole foods, I can focus on that rather than calories, and it seems to keep me at a stable weight."

Melissa's on the right track. A high-fiber diet helps you lose more weight than you may think. In a study, those on a high-fiber diet were half as likely to become obese, according to nutrition researcher Megan McCrory. "Fiber doesn't contain any calories, yet it contains bulk, so when people consume fiber, they consume few calories. So, the trick is learning where the high fiber sources are and seeking them out."

The top sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals. Experts say try to get 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Dr. McCrory says, "I think it's not hard once you know how to do it."

Some easy tips -- switch to whole grain breads . Add a handful of nuts to yogurt. Add beans to soups and salads . Also snack on fruits, vegetables, and maybe some popcorn. Melissa Montalto says, "I probably eat about the 30 grams recommended amount per day."

And that's kept her weight under control. Research also shows just twelve extra grams of fiber prevents you from gaining on average eight pounds over several years.

The jury's still out on whether fiber supplements work as well as the real thing, although it appears they don't.