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

Deep belly fat may weaken your bones

It appears that men with increased deep belly fat, the visceral fat that surrounds our organs, have lower bone strength. Researchers speculate that it’s because visceral obesity is associated with reduced secretion of growth hormone, which is essential for bone health, and because of the inflammatory cytokines secreted by the visceral fat cells. Visceral fat is also a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. Exercise and diet are effective at reducing visceral fat or keeping it from growing. (Locked) More »

How to break the sugar habit-and help your health in the process

Eating too much sugar contributes to obesity, heart disease, and an increased risk for death. Sugar is sometimes hard to spot, because it is often hidden in unexpected foods, such as ketchup and salad dressing. Cutting back on sugar can help control appetite and cravings for heavily sweetened foods. More »

7 things you can do to prevent a stroke

Aging and a family history can increase your risk for a stroke, but women can reduce this risk by managing factors that are under their control. Lowering high blood pressure, keeping weight in check, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, losing weight, managing atrial fibrillation and diabetes, and quitting smoking can dramatically decrease the risk of a stroke. More »

Avoiding knee or hip surgery

Losing weight and strengthening muscles may help stave off joint replacement. Stronger muscles are better able to absorb pressure that is placed on the joints they support. The key muscles to strengthen for knee health are the quadriceps and hamstrings. The key muscles to strengthen for hip health are the gluteus muscles and the flexors. Weight loss reduces pressure on the joints as well. A weight-loss program should include enough calories, carbohydrates, and protein to provide energy for the body and build muscle. More »

Why the Mediterranean diet is so good for your heart

The Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, and olive oil, is good for the heart. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk for heart disease, strokes, and deaths from heart disease 30% compared with a regular low-fat diet. (Locked) More »

Weight loss for better sleep

Losing weight, especially in the belly, improves the quality of sleep for overweight and obese people. This may be because weight loss reduces the risk of sleep apnea. The best way to lteose weight in the belly is with exercise and a healthy diet. Doctors recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as swimming or brisk walking) each week. Shorter but more frequent exercise sessions have the same physical impact as longer exercise sessions. (Locked) More »

Heart-healthy recipes

The following original recipes were created by a registered dietitian. They are easy to make (even for a beginner cook), delicious (even for picky eaters), and healthy—they adhere to the healthy eating guidelines outlined in Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School. Bon appetit! Makes 12 servings, 1 muffin each 2¼ cups oat bran¼ cup packed brown sugar1 tablespoon baking powder1 tablespoon white sugar2 tablespoons ground cinnamon2 tablespoons safflower oil2 large egg whites½ cup nonfat milk¾ cup natural unsweetened applesauce1 cup dried cranberries More »