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

A wake-up call on coffee

Straight coffee minus the cream and sugar is a nearly calorie-free beverage brimming with antioxidants. It might ease artery-damaging inflammation and deliver substances that help the body regulate blood sugar. However, super-sweet coffee drinks can pack on the pounds and do more harm than good.  More »

Fed up about dietary fat advice?

Low-fat diets do not necessarily improve heart health. The new way of looking at fats in food does not focus on specific levels of fat intake. It emphasizes a diet based on whole, unprocessed plant foods, which contain healthy forms of fat. Eggs and dairy, although they contain saturated fat, can be part of a healthy diet in moderate amounts. Minimizing red and unprocessed meat is still recommended.  (Locked) More »

Having a big belly puts your heart in danger

Americans’ bellies are getting bigger, a trend that’s likely due to an increase in visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs and is linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Genetic, ethnic, and gender differences affect a person’s likelihood of accumulating visceral fat. Eating fewer carbohydrates and doing more exercise (both aerobic and strength training) can trim a midriff bulge.  (Locked) More »

BMI Calculator

To estimate your BMI, enter your height and weight below, then click the "Calculate" button. BMI INTERPRETATION More »

Exercise and weight loss: the importance of resting energy expenditure

One way that exercise helps promote weight loss is by increasing resting energy expenditure. That's how quickly you burn energy even at rest. Since resting energy expenditure accounts for 60% to 75% of the calories you burn each day, any increase in resting energy expenditure is extremely important to your weight-loss effort. More »