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

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 »

Fluid retention: What it can mean for your heart

Excess fluid in the body can take a variety of forms, from belly boating and swollen ankles to nausea, persistent coughing, and fatigue. Even before outward signs are evident, fluid retention can signal a worsening of heart failure. Checking weight daily is the best method to detect early changes in the body’s fluid balance. An increase of 2 or more pounds in a day should be a signal to lower sodium intake, check fluid intake, and call a doctor for medication advice. Doing so can help prevent serious heart failure complications. (Locked) More »

Heart failure diagnosis: Tools for positive outcomes

The words “heart failure” can be frightening. The condition isn’t actually a failure of the heart, but a compromised ability to pump enough oxygenated blood throughout the body. It can be deadly if untreated. Take proactive steps to improve the quality of life and overall health of a person with heart failure. These include taking medicines as directed; getting regular exercise; watching sodium and fluid intake; eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins; tracking weight and any new symptoms daily; and not fixating on ejection fraction. (Locked) More »

Get to know your food labels

Nutrition Facts labels can help people make better choices about the food they eat. To read a label, consumers are advised to take note of serving size and calories per serving; to ignore calories from fat, which has no direct relationship to health; to ignore total fat and instead look at the types of fat; to note sodium and cholesterol content; to disregard total carbohydrate counts; to pay attention to protein and nutrients; and to ignore percent daily values and pay attention instead to individual calorie needs. (Locked) More »