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

Hefty is healthy?!

Experts are challenging a recent, widely reported study that suggested being overweight is not associated with early mortality. (Locked) More »

5 Action Steps for Early Heart Failure

Heart failure may start with injury from a heart attack, develop as a result of damaged valves, or be brought on by underlying disease. Many times, it is the product of years of toil against high blood pressure and clogged arteries. Regardless of what sets the process in motion, recognizing the problem early and taking appropriate action can help you live longer and better.  (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Should we ban trans fats?

The FDA is considering removing trans fats from its list of ingredients "generally regarded as safe." If this ruling is made final, companies will have to prove that trans fats are safe if they want to continue to put them in their products. (Locked) More »

Borderline hypertension: When do you need treatment?

Hypertension, defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or above, is a primary risk factor for stroke and heart attack. But the perils of hypertension do not suddenly appear as blood pressure readings cross that threshold. Many people fall into the murky zone of borderline hypertension, in which blood pressure is higher than ideal but not yet at a point where medications are recommended. Making diet and lifestyle changes proven to lower blood pressure can prevent or delay the need to take high blood pressure medicines in the future.  (Locked) More »

Lose a few pounds to help your heart

Losing 10% of their body weight can help overweight women improve heart risks such as unhealthy LDL cholesterol and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). Even women who lose smaller amounts of weight can see improvements in heart risks. (Locked) More »

Don't let that heartburn go untreated

More people are being diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus. It’s unclear whether this represents a true increase in incidence or improved awareness. Barrett’s is a change in cells in the esophagus that results from frequent acid exposure caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). People with Barrett’s esophagus have a small risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (a type of esophageal cancer) because the Barrett’s esophagus cells can turn into cancer cells. Middle-aged white men who developed GERD at an early age and have had it for many years are at the highest risk for getting esophageal cancer.  (Locked) More »

Obesity as a cardiovascular disease: Time to take your BMI seriously

With the recent designation of obesity as a disease by the American Medical Association and new guidelines on obesity treatment, BMI may become a commonly assessed vital sign for determining cardiovascular risk in the same way that blood pressure and blood sugar measurements are currently used.  (Locked) More »