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

Managing atrial fibrillation: An update

New guidelines for managing atrial fibrillation (afib) now advise most people to take novel oral anticoagulant drugs rather than warfarin to prevent a stroke. Aspirin is no longer recommended for stroke prevention for afib. Another change highlights the benefits of weight loss, which can reduce afib episodes and keep the condition from worsening. The guidelines also more strongly recommend a procedure called ablation (which destroys faulty electric pathways in the heart) for people with afib symptoms who also have systolic heart failure. (Locked) More »

Simple strategies to stop stress-related overeating

People who are under stress often gain weight because of biological reactions, including an increase in the hormone cortisol. Taking steps to reduce stress can help people avoid weight gain. These might include getting a good night’s sleep, planning ahead during stressful times and seeking out help from your doctor or a specialist. (Locked) More »

Four keys to prevent cardiovascular disease

After decades of steady decline, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) has increased over the last few years. However, an estimated 80% of all CVD —heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke—can be prevented. They key is to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and follow healthy habits, such eating a plant-based diet, adopting regular physical activity, and getting adequate sleep. (Locked) More »

Meal delivery plans: Should you give one a try?

For people who don’t have the time, energy or interest to plan, shop, and prepare meals, subscription meal-delivery plans may encourage healthier eating and sometimes weight loss. Some plans feature low-sodium or vegetarian meals, which may benefit people with heart disease. Meal-kit plans deliver pre-portioned, mostly fresh ingredients with detailed preparation instructions, which may help people become more comfortable trying new foods and cooking techniques. Plans geared toward weight loss provide microwavable meals and pre-packaged snacks so people don’t have think about portion size or count calories. (Locked) More »

Health by the numbers

New research has found that fluctuations in four health-related parameters—weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels—may be associated with a higher risk of heart attacks, stroke, and premature death compared with more stable readings. Being more mindful about personal health numbers, and making necessary lifestyle and medical changes as necessary, can help people avoid possible health risks. (Locked) More »

Why worry about your waistline?

Growing numbers of Americans now have abdominal obesity (as measured by a large waist size), which puts them at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Abdominal fat (also known as visceral fat) pads the organs and is more likely to lead to unfavorable changes in blood sugar and other heart risk factors. Some people are predisposed to larger midsections because of their sex, genes, or ethnicity. But a reduced-carbohydrate diet that avoids added sugar, white flour, and starchy foods may help; so can intermittent fasting and regular exercise. More »

What could cause my breasts to become larger?

Men who develop swollen, tender breasts may have a condition called gynecomastia. While it can be embarrassing, it rarely has a serious cause. However, in adults, the condition warrants a medical evaluation to look for possible health issues and drug side effects.  Weight loss may help if breast enlargement is due to excess fat. More »