Diet & Weight Loss Archive

Articles

What are the differences between popular low-carb diets?

There are many varieties of low-carb diets.  Each has its unique approach and some may help jump-start a weight-loss program, But long-term use of very low-carb diets can lack essential micronutrients and may raise the risk of health problems.

Can intermittent fasting improve heart health?

Intermittent fasting may help people lose weight and improve their cholesterol levels and other heart-related risks. One form of intermittent fasting is time-restricted eating, during which people eat only during a certain time window (usually eight hours) each day. Another approach, alternate-day fasting, involves fasting or significantly limiting calories for one or two days per week. But it's hard to maintain over the long run due to the challenges of following a strict eating schedule while juggling various work, family, and social commitments.

How low should LDL cholesterol go?

People who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease can benefit from driving down "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels as low as possible to help reduce their risk for heart attacks and strokes. Guidelines recommend that people at high risk aim for LDL levels below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The general population should strive for levels below 100 mg/dL. Taking statins and adopting healthier lifestyle habits like following a plant-based diet and increasing exercise can help manage LDL levels.

Keto diet is not healthy and may harm the heart

According to a 2024 review, the ketogenic (keto) diet—which is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates—doesn't meet standards for a healthy diet and may not be safe for some people with heart disease.

Can berberine help me lose weight?

The demand for semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic) and similar weight-loss drugs has renewed interest in the dietary supplement berberine. Some people say berberine suppresses appetite and promotes weight loss, but no rigorous evidence supports that claim.

Taming high triglycerides

Up to 30% of Americans have above-normal levels of triglycerides, which many studies have linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Lifestyle changes that can lower triglycerides include losing weight if needed; avoiding simple carbohydrates, sweets, and alcohol; cutting back on saturated fats; and doing regular exercise. For people whose levels remain high (especially those at risk for heart disease), medications such as fibrates or icosapent ethyl (Vascepa) may be helpful.

Weighing the dangers of extra weight

Standard definitions consider a healthy body mass index (BMI), a calculation based on a person's height and weight, as between 18.5 and 24.9. Studies have found that a higher BMI increases risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. However, even if their BMI does not fall into the category of overweight, people who gain five or more pounds may be at risk for health problems, especially if the weight gain is belly fat. The best approach is a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet.

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