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

Burning calories without exercise

 How to burn calories without exercise, from resting with a book to sitting and breathing. Try intentional non-exercise physical activity, like brisk walking or taking the stairs. More »

When it comes to protein, how much is too much?

You've probably heard the claims by now:  Here's a diet that's delicious, easy to stick with, and guaranteed to help you lose weight effortlessly.  Or, perhaps it's supposed to build muscle, protect your joints or prevent Alzheimer's.  Whatever the diet and whatever the claim, there's a good chance that it is, indeed, too good to be true. In recent years, high protein diets are among the most popular, whether the protein is consumed as a supplement (protein shakes for body builders!) or simply a larger than usual portion of a balanced diet (such as The Zone, Atkins or Paleo Diets). More »

Does apple cider vinegar have any proven health benefits?

Apple cider vinegar is the subject of many health claims, but these have little supportive medical evidence. While it appears to have no harmful effects, people should avoid using it to whiten teeth, which can damage tooth enamel, or to remove moles, as it can burn the skin. (Locked) More »

Drink your fruits and vegetables?

People who struggle to eat the recommended amount of vegetables and fruits each day can drink low-sodium vegetable juice, although a fresh raw salad is a better choice. Fruit juices, which are high in sugar and calories, should be limited to a half-cup daily. Blended smoothies that combine fruits, vegetables, and other healthful foods (such as yogurt, nut butters, and chia or flax seeds) are another option. (Locked) More »

Get moving to slow cardiovascular aging

As people age and become less active, the muscle in the heart’s left ventricle—the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out to the body—becomes stiffer. But as with other muscles, it’s possible to keep your heart muscles in shape longer and perhaps even reverse some of the effects of age by getting regular cardio exercise of sufficient intensity and duration. More »

Inflammatory foods are linked with higher colon cancer risk

People who followed an “inflammatory” diet that contained red and processed meat and refined grains had a 44% greater risk of developing colon cancer compared with people who ate a low-inflammation diet, which included high amounts of green leafy vegetables and whole grains. More »

Losing weight helps your partner slim down, too

People who make an effort to lose weight by joining a weight-loss program can help their partner do the same. Researchers believed this was due to a “ripple effect” in which people are more likely to adopt their partner’s new healthy habits. More »