Diet & Weight Loss

A healthy weight is an important element of good health. How much you eat—and what you eat—play central roles in maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight. Exercise is the other key actor.

For years, low-fat diets were thought to be the best way to lose weight. A growing body of evidence shows that low-fat diets often don't work, in part because these diets often replace fat with easily digested carbohydrates.

Hundreds of diets have been created, many promising fast and permanent weight loss. Remember the cabbage soup diet? The grapefruit diet? How about the Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle diet, the caveman diet, the Subway diet, the apple cider vinegar diet, and a host of forgettable celebrity diets?

The truth is, almost any diet will work if it helps you take in fewer calories. Diets do this in two main ways:

  • getting you to eat certain "good" foods and/or avoid "bad" ones
  • changing how you behave and the ways you think or feel about food

The best diet for losing weight is one that is good for all parts of your body, from your brain to your toes, and not just for your waistline. It is also one you can live with for a long time. In other words, a diet that offers plenty of good tasting and healthy choices, banishes few foods, and doesn't require an extensive and expensive list of groceries or supplements.

One diet that fills the bill is a Mediterranean-type diet. Such a diet—and there are many variations—usually includes:

  • several servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • whole-grain breads and cereals
  • healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and olive oil
  • lean protein from poultry, fish, and beans
  • limited amounts of red meat
  • moderate wine consumption with meals (no more than two glasses a day for men; no more than one a day for women

A Mediterranean-style diet is a flexible eating pattern. People who follow such diets tend to have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and other chronic conditions.

Diet & Weight Loss Articles

An easy way to soup up your diet

Soup may have hidden health risks. Many store-bought and some restaurant soups contain unnatural ingredients, such as preservatives, or unhealthy ingredients such as saturated fat, sodium, or sugar. It’s best to avoid prepared soups, although they’re okay on occasion, within limits. Aim for less than 500 calories, 600 mg of sodium, 5 grams of saturated fat, and 5 grams of added sugar in a bowl of soup. The healthiest soups are made from scratch, without fatty cream-based broths. (Locked) More »

Cancer and diet: What’s the connection?

Much research has suggested that certain foods and nutrients may help prevent—or, conversely, contribute to—certain types of cancer. While it is not 100% certain that consuming more or less of certain foods or nutrients will guarantee cancer protection, science has found that processed meats, high-glycemic-index foods, calcium, and antioxidant-rich foods may have the greatest influence on a person’s risk.  (Locked) More »

Fatty liver disease and your heart

Up to one-third of adults in the United States have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A leading cause of chronic liver disease, NAFLD appears to increase the risk of heart disease independent of diabetes and high blood pressure. A fat-afflicted liver releases inflammatory compounds and other substances that might promote fatty buildup within the arteries (atherosclerosis) and make blood more likely to clot, both of which may boost the risk of heart attack and stroke. Exercise (even without weight loss) can improve NAFLD; so can a healthy diet and medications such as cholesterol-lowering statins.  (Locked) More »

The Nutrition Facts label finally gets a makeover

Upcoming changes to the Nutrition Facts panel may help consumers choose more nutritious foods and drive the food industry to make products healthier. One important update is the inclusion of added sugars, because excess sugar in the diet can contribute to heart disease. Other label changes may help stem weight gain, which raises the risk of heart disease. Some serving sizes will change to more closely reflect what people typically consume, and the number of calories per serving will be easier to read.  More »