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 silent condition may be taking a toll on your health

Prediabetes is a common condition, and often goes undetected. People with this condition have a number of health risks, including a greater chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke. In addition, they are more likely to develop diabetes, which can lead to additional health problems, such as kidney disease and a higher rate of infection. Testing for prediabetes can find the condition early and potentially prevent it from progressing to diabetes. (Locked) More »

Calcium scan concerns

Coronary artery calcium scans tend to be quite accurate. Unlike some other imaging tests, the results are unlikely to be either falsely negative or falsely positive because the results are literally black and white (the calcium shows up as white on the scan). (Locked) More »

Don’t get upset about indigestion

It’s common for indigestion to become more frequent and severe with age, a condition called chronic dyspepsia or recurring indigestion. While most flare-ups can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, people can stop recurring problems by adopting lifestyle measures, such as reducing stress, avoiding excess alcohol, quitting smoking, losing extra weight, and eating smaller meals. (Locked) More »

Grain of the month: Brown rice

Compared with white rice, brown rice contains much higher amounts of fiber, certain B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Research suggests that swapping white rice for brown rice may improve blood sugar levels and help with weight control. More »

Stop counting calories

Experts are learning that the old idea of calories in, calories out, isn’t necessarily accurate or the best way to lose weight. Even careful calorie calculations don’t always yield uniform results. How a person’s body burns calories depends on a number of factors, including the type of food eaten, metabolism, and even the presence of certain gut microorganisms. The truth is that two people can eat the exact same number of calories and have very different outcomes when it comes to weight. More »

How do doctors evaluate treatments for heart disease?

Research on drugs, diets, and devices to treat or prevent cardiovascular disease includes clinical trials and observational studies. In clinical trials, volunteers are randomly assigned to receive either the new treatment or the comparison, which may be a placebo (an inactive therapy) or a treatment that’s already available. Observational studies follow a large group of people over a long period of time and gather information on diet, exercise, and medical and family history, for example. All studies have strengths and weaknesses, but the evidence from clinical trials is the most trustworthy. (Locked) More »

Simple home medical gadgets to protect your health

The modernization of standard home medical devices has made monitoring health easier than ever. These gadgets include thermometers, scales, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters. Gadget features that are especially helpful for older adults are easy operation and large, lighted readouts. It’s important that some home medical devices, such as blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters, have a seal of approval from an accredited agency, such as the FDA for pulse oximeters or the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation for blood pressure monitors. (Locked) More »

Can I do anything to prevent urinary incontinence?

Not all cases of urinary incontinence can be prevented, but a woman can reduce her risk by maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly. Kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles in the pelvis that support the bladder. (Locked) More »

Building strength before surgery may ease recovery

Prehabilitation is increasingly being used to ready older or frail adults for surgery, in hopes of hastening the recovery process. This approach uses a combination of strategies including exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle support to help people improve their health before a physically stressful event. Physicians typically tailor these programs to the needs of the individual. (Locked) More »

Prepare for prehab

Although there is much emphasis placed on a person’s recovery after a complex medical procedure or surgery, it is equally important to focus on health beforehand. Preparing both the body and mind for an invasive medical procedure can help avoid setbacks, reduce complications, and speed up recovery. (Locked) More »