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

Bad habits come in pairs

Couples often share health habits, whether good or bad, according to a recent study. When one partner doesn’t exercise regularly or eat a healthy diet, the other most often doesn’t either. Researchers found that in nearly 80% of cases, couples shared a high risk of developing heart-related problems because of shared risk factors. But the good news was that couples also seemed to influence each other in a positive direction. When one partner had good health habits, the other often did as well. More »

Can taking aspirin regularly help prevent breast cancer?

There is insufficient evidence that a regimen of low-dose aspirin can prevent breast cancer, and it poses risks, including severe bleeding episodes. So, unless more evidence comes to light, experts say it’s too early to recommend the use of low-dose aspirin for this purpose. Until a few years ago it seemed that low-dose aspirin therapy held potential for breast cancer prevention, but three major studies that came out in 2018 changed that picture. Studies have also suggested against the use of aspirin therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease because of bleeding risks. More »

Can you supercharge the Mediterranean diet?

A Mediterranean diet featuring plant-based proteins is associated with more weight loss and steeper declines in cholesterol, insulin resistance, and inflammation markers than a Mediterranean diet with more animal-based proteins. More »

4 intermittent fasting side effects to watch out for

Over the last several years, intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular for its promises of improved health and weight control. The idea is that it's easier to sharply restrict calories a few days a week or to limit eating to a shortened "eating window" each day than it is to moderately cut calories at every meal, every day. Proponents claim that extended fasting periods (beyond the normal time between meals) promote cellular repair, improve insulin sensitivity, increase levels of human growth hormone, and alter gene expression in a way that promotes longevity and disease protection. But are there any risks? More »

How can I cut down on sugar in my diet?

Cutting down on daily sugar intake may protect long-term health. People should opt for whole foods over processed choices. When choosing packaged foods, be certain to check the label and avoid those with too much added sugar. More »

Is there a cure for my nightly snoring?

Snoring can be improved by making lifestyle changes. These include sleeping on the side instead of the back, avoiding alcohol or medications that may relax the airway muscles, and maintaining a healthy body weight. More »

Low-carb and high-fat diet helps obese older adults

Science continues to explore what is the right percentage of carbohydrates and fat in people’s diets. But for obese older adults who need to lose fat and improve their health, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet could be the best formula. More »

Obesity is still on the rise among American adults

American adults are gaining weight, according to data from the CDC. The prevalence of obesity is still on the rise, and in 12 U.S. states, 35% of the population is now obese, compared with just six states in 2017 and nine states in 2018. More »

Tips to cheat safely on your healthy diet

Eating an unhealthy meal every now and then may not cause problems for generally healthy people. This may mean eating a healthy diet 90% of the time and splurging 10% of the time. It’s called the 90-10 rule. But the rule shouldn’t be abused. Cheating regularly on a healthy diet can lead to weight gain and other consequences of poor eating habits. Instead, one should follow a healthy diet on most days, and indulge only occasionally. More »