The strongest evidence to date shows that calories matter, but focusing on food quality is an equally important part of preventing weight gain and promoting weight loss. Focus on eating high-quality foods in appropriately sized portions. High-quality foods include unrefined, minimally processed foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and healthy sources of protein — the foods recommended in the Healthy Eating Plate. Lower-quality foods include highly processed snack foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined white grains, refined sugar, fried foods, foods high in saturated and trans fats, and high-glycemic foods such as potatoes.
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Quality counts One study analyzed whether certain foods were more or less likely to promote weight gain. In a study of over , healthy women and men spanning 20 years, researchers determined that weight change was most strongly associated with the intake of potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, and both processed and unprocessed red meats. The researchers concluded that consumption of processed foods higher in starches, refined grains, fats, and sugars can increase weight gain.
Foods shown to be associated with weight loss were vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt. Researchers did not discount the importance of calories, instead suggesting that choosing high-quality foods and decreasing consumption of lower-quality foods is an important factor in helping individuals consume fewer calories. After one year, weight loss was greater for women in the Atkins diet group compared with the other diet groups.
This study also examined secondary outcomes focused on metabolic effects such as cholesterol, body fat percentage, glucose levels and blood pressure , and found that those for the Atkins group were comparable with or more favorable than the other diet groups. This study does raise questions about about long-term effects and mechanisms, but the researchers concluded that a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diet may be considered a feasible recommendation for weight loss.
The study followed people over 2 years, assigning subjects to one of four diets: Low-fat and average-protein, low-fat and high-protein, high-fat and average-protein, and high-fat and high protein. Researchers concluded that all of the diets resulted in meaningful weight loss, despite the differences in macronutrient composition. The study also found that the more group counseling sessions participants attended, the more weight they lost, and the less weight they regained. This supports the idea that not only is what you eat important, but behavioral, psychological, and social factors are important for weight loss as well.
The youngest participant was 25 years and the oldest participant was 59 years, and their mean age was The majority of the participants Their median BMI was Many of the participants believed that dieting was related to the types and calories of the food that they consumed. Individuals who were on a diet were also expected to measure the amount and calories of food; their diet must be balanced and guided by the food pyramid. The food should contain low amounts of fat and sugar and should be prepared healthily through roasting, steaming, and boiling.
According to some of the participants, dieting involved removing rice from their normal diet or reducing its amount. We can eat other foods. If I control my diet by eating food other than rice, I can reduce my weight. The participants were divided into two groups based on their previous attempts to lose weight. One group had implemented various strategies previously, whereas the other group had never attempted weight loss before. A significant number of the participants from the second group accepted their current weights and moved on with life.
In fact, some of them were even happy with it. I just accept if my weight increases or decreases. It is easy that way. I did not bother about whether I can or cannot reduce my weight. I am at peace with my weight. The other group of participants implemented various strategies that they believed would help them lose weight. They performed exercises, such as cycling, aerobics, running on a treadmill, jogging, hiking, and playing football.
Some of them exercised once or twice per week. The other participants described that their routine activities included gardening, cleaning the house, or lifting heavy objects at work or at home as one of their weight losing strategies. A few of them described taking Atkins and detox diet, and a male participant claimed that he had not taken rice for one year to lose weight.
I bought that type of rice. I bought chicken breast at the Tesco, fried it without oil, and mixed it with salad. I ate corn and performed exercises. Some of the participants had taken medications, such as Duromine, which is an appetite suppressant, from private hospitals or clinics. However, most of the participants did not know or remember the name of the prescribed drug that they have been using.
I tried it. It is like a high-fiber drink. I bought it from a cosmetic shop, not from a pharmacy. Traditional herbs, including topical applications, were also commonly used because these herbs claimed to be useful in reducing weight; they contained ginger and other traditional ingredients and came in the forms of pills, drinks, and laxatives. In addition, some of the participants were enrolled in commercial weight loss programs. They monitored our diet and provided an exercise regime. We used a steam machine to make us sweat. The participants who had attempted to lose weight claimed that they had done so for months or even years.
However, many of them tried certain methods for a few days or weeks, discontinued them, and shifted to other methods. For instance, they did not even finish one can of slimming milk, which was expensive. Numerous participants did not comply with the specific methods regardless of exercise form, dieting, or commercial programs.
Many of the participants expressed their frustrations when they were unable to lose weight despite their efforts to use various methods, including exercise. My weight still did not decrease even after I consumed all contents of the six cans. I lost 40 kg. However, the weight loss was unsustainable; they regained weight once they stopped the medication or discontinued the program.
Then, I did not control my food intake and started to regain the weight. Interestingly, some of the participants claimed that they regained more weight than their initial weight after adopting weight loss strategies, particularly after discontinuing their programs or activities; in other words, their weight after participating in a program was higher than that before joining the program. I lost 35 kg within six months. However, my appetite increased once I left the fitness program.
It even doubled, and my weight increased by twice as much as my initial weight. The participants shared their experiences and commented on several elements that motivated them to apply various weight loss strategies.
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These elements were essential factors that could explain their previous weight loss attempts. The intention to be healthy was frequently mentioned in all of the sessions when the participants discussed their motivations to lose weight. Some of them experienced health problems and believed that reducing weight might improve their conditions.
Other participants aimed to prevent the onset of adverse conditions, such as hypertension and heart disease.
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They were also concerned about the lack of body fitness. I stay on the ground floor and the toilet is on the first floor. I feel too heavy to climb the stairs, and my body is incapable incapable of doing so with this weight. I must reduce it. Some female participants attributed their efforts to losing weight to the concept of beauty.
We can see and people also complained to me about it. An important motivator was the role of social support from close sources, such as spouses, friends, siblings, and other family members. These social groups provided advice, encouragement, and criticisms. These individuals, closely related to the participants, also endorsed and introduced various commercial products that claimed to assist in losing weight.
They directly offered the products or became a good example or a living testimonial of the effectiveness of weight loss products or strategies. She appeared slim. Some of the participants were attracted to certain weight loss strategies that were popular at the time they implemented a specific approach. In addition, they would apply a particular method if their peers were also using it.
However, they did not have the initiative to continue with the weight loss program without these organized activities. Some factors were described as limitations experienced by the participants who aimed to lose weight. The most common limitations to a successful weight loss were the lack of self-control and motivation. At night, I felt like becoming a Dracula and flying in search for food.
These limitations were commonly observed partly because of their eating habits. The participants ate high amounts of food, particularly unhealthy food. They also noticed that their appetite increased whenever they were unhappy or under stress. Several male participants experienced a problem of eating out after they performed an exercise. The participants also felt demotivated when they could not eat rice.
It is a no if I cannot take rice. I still took some rice that is why my weight did not decrease. Many of the participants discontinued using or following the previous weight loss strategies after they experienced unpleasant side effects. That was my fear. I was afraid that it would cause hemorrhoids. The unpleasant characteristic of the weight loss method also prevented the participants from continuing it.
I could not stand it.
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The drink made me nauseated that I feel like vomiting. I took it for a few months but could no longer afford it. It's the money factor. The effects of the weight loss strategies, demonstrated in the participants' attempts to lose weight are considered essential factors that determined whether they would comply with their chosen methods. Many of the participants claimed that they were demotivated when the methods did not produce the expected effects.
When I measure my weight daily and it does not show any reduction, I feel low. I did not observe any changes when I did it dieting and determined my weight after 1 month, so I think I am better off without dieting. Some of the participants claimed to gain weight despite following weight loss strategies.
Thus, this outcome demotivated and prevented them from complying with the weight loss methods.
My weight kept on increasing. I am frustrated. The participants' environmental factors also posed challenges in their efforts to lose weight. Although family members and friends were acknowledged to be motivators, they could also play opposite roles. However, I lived with my mother who cooked food with delicious aroma….
Some more flexible versions of the paleo diet also allow for dairy like cheese and butter, as well as tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes. Weight loss: Several studies have shown that the paleo diet can lead to significant weight loss and reduced waist size 1 , 2 , 3 , 4. In studies, paleo dieters automatically eat much fewer carbs, more protein, and — fewer calories per day 1 , 2 , 3 , 4. Other benefits: The diet seems effective at reducing risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, blood triglycerides, and blood pressure 5 , 6 , 7.
The downside: The paleo diet eliminates whole grains, legumes, and dairy, which are healthy and nutritious. The vegan diet restricts all animal products for ethical, environmental, or health reasons. In addition to eliminating meat, it eliminates dairy, eggs, and animal-derived products, such as gelatin, honey, albumin, whey, casein, and some forms of vitamin D3. Weight loss: A vegan diet seems to be very effective at helping people lose weight — often without counting calories — because its very low fat and high fiber content may make you feel fuller for longer.
Vegan diets are consistently linked to lower body weight and body mass index BMI compared to other diets 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , One week study showed that people on a vegan diet lost 9. The vegan group was allowed to eat until fullness, but the control group had to restrict calories However, calorie for calorie, vegan diets are not more effective for weight loss than other diets Other benefits: Plant-based diets are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature death 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , Limiting processed meat may also reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease and dying from heart disease or cancer 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , The downside: Because vegan diets eliminate animal foods completely, they may be low in several nutrients , including vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , Low-carb diets have been popular for decades — especially for weight loss.
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There are several types of low-carb diets, but all involve limiting carb intake to 20— grams per day. The primary aim of the diet is to force your body to use more fats for fuel instead of using carbs as a main source of energy. How it works: Low-carb diets emphasize unlimited amounts of protein and fat while severely limiting your carb intake. When carb intake is very low, fatty acids are moved into your blood and transported to your liver, where some of them are turned into ketones.
Your body can then use fatty acids and ketones in the absence of carbs as its primary energy source. Weight loss: Numerous studies indicate that low-carb diets are extremely helpful for weight loss, especially in overweight and obese individuals 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , They seem to be very effective at reducing dangerous belly fat, which can become lodged around your organs 35 , People on very low-carb diets commonly reach a state called ketosis.
Many studies note that ketogenic diets lead to more than twice the weight loss than a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet 35 , 37 , 38 , Other benefits: Low-carb diets tend to reduce your appetite and make you feel less hungry, leading to an automatic reduction in calorie intake 40 , Furthermore, low-carb diets may benefit many major disease risk factors, such as blood triglycerides, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and blood pressure 34 , 42 , 43 , 44 , The downside: Low-carb diets do not suit everyone.
Some feel great on them while others feel miserable. In extremely rare cases, very low-carb diets can cause a serious condition called ketoacidosis. This condition seems to be more common in lactating women and can be fatal if left untreated 47 , 48 , 49 , The Dukan diet is a high-protein, low-carb weight loss diet split into four phases — two weight loss phases and two maintenance phases. How long you stay in each phase depends on how much weight you need to lose.
Each phase has its own dietary pattern. How it works: The weight loss phases are primarily based on eating unlimited high-protein foods and mandatory oat bran. The other phases involve adding non-starchy vegetables followed by some carbs and fat. Later on, there will be fewer and fewer pure protein days to maintain your new weight.
Weight loss: In one study, women following the Dukan diet ate about 1, calories and grams of protein per day and lost an average of 33 pounds 15 kg in 8—10 weeks Also, many other studies show that high-protein, low-carb diets may have major weight loss benefits 52 , 53 , 54 , These include a higher metabolic rate , a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and an increase in several fullness hormones 56 , 57 , 58 , Other benefits: Apart from weight loss, there are no recorded benefits of the Dukan diet in scientific literature.
The downside: There is very little quality research available on the Dukan diet. The Dukan diet limits both fat and carbs — a strategy not based on science. On the contrary, consuming fat as part of a high-protein diet seems to increase metabolic rate compared to both low-carb and low-fat diets The loss of muscle mass and severe calorie restriction may also cause your body to conserve energy, making it very easy to regain the weight after losing it 62 , 63 , 64 , The diet is mostly plant-based and has a limited intake of animal products Weight loss: This diet has proven very successful for weight loss among obese individuals.