Editorial: The best diet for weight loss is…..

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The prefect diet for weight or fat loss is a utopian pipe dream that does not exist.

Obesity.

If you ask 100 people what the prefect diet is, you will get nearly 100 varied answers. The number of possibilities is quite overwhelming and will quickly drown those looking for assistance. There are so many diets out there and most clinical providers are every bit as confused as the patients they are treating. We need to avoid absolutism and suggestion that over simplify the suggestions we recommend.

For many years, the experts of healthy diets have been recommending a low-fat diet with that are low in cholesterol and saturated fat. This recommendation is based on research done in the Seven Counties Study. The problem with the research is that it was both biased in the countries it chose to use and eliminate and this bias directly effected the quality Of the recommendations. Research on fat is clouded by additional risk consumption and lifestyle choices to include trans fats. Medical and nutrition experts have begun to wonder whether we were doing something drastically wrong and research has confirmed their suspensions.

Low-carbohydrate diets are not new. They have been around for over 2 centuries, but have gained more notoriety in the last 2-3 decades. Although popular, these diets have been met with mass resistance by the medical experts to include cardiology. This resistance was based on concerns generated by the levels of fat consumption advocated by this diet. In fact, the Atkins Diet pushes a diet that is nearly 70% of total calories from fat and is high in saturated. That being said, not all low-carb diets are the same. The South Beach Diet is lower in saturated fat and advocated for high monounsaturated fats levels.

Cardiologists feel that these higher fat in low-carbohydrate and keto diets. The thoughts are that this level of fat increases the risk of coronary artery disease. The problem is that that the research is not matched to road to a heart attack. The problem as I indicated above is that the experts didn’t take into account was that these low-carbohydrate diets actually led to overall decreases in caloric intake From lower levels of carbs and sugar. Any diet that results in weight loss should result in fewer cardiac risk factors.

My preferred diet is a Mediterranean diets such as a DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and it is a vegetable based diet. I do nto think a vegan or vegetarian diet is required but the research supports the use of this diet for weight loss and a reduced risk of hypertension and coronary artery disease. This diet includes high amounts of beans, fish, fruits, grains (unprocessed), lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, and poultry. The goal of a DASH diet is to consume lower levels of processed foods, saturated fats, red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.

The best diet is one that your can stick with a diet that you can sustain. It must match your lifestyle and food preferences.

The problem with any diets to include but not exclusive to low fat, keto, fasting, low-carb, or paleo is that most people cannot sustain them. The severe limitations of these diets ultimately leads to failure and weight regain. Also, medical experts continue to project doubt about the long-term health effects of such diets on overall health.

Popular diets come and go, but there are those that turn out to have some merit and appear to be promote some success. The Mediterranean and Intermittent Fasting diets have each been linked to health benefits in a new study. There is also some suggestions that portion control can be successful for both eh short and long term and might even be easier to maintain for those trying to lose or maintain weight loss.

Five general recommendation to help you lose weight:

  • Reduce your empty calories from sugar and alcohol. These calorie sources provide limited nutritional benefits outside of calories.
  • Decrease your carbohydrate intake. I did not say low-carbohydrates, instead, the goal is fewer carbohydrates. You can make carbs and will make extra if you need them. Refined and high glycemic-index carbohydrates are a waste of calories and only provide calories. Make you carbohydrates count by choosing lower processed grains that are high in fiber.
  • Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. Higher levels of fruit and vegetables have been tied to a lower weight and risk of all cause mortality.
  • Increase your intake of mono and polyunsaturated fats by increasing the amount of plant oils and fish in your diet.
  • Limit yourself to moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products and nuts. These foods are help maximize the sensation of satiety.

Fiber, healthy fats, and lower levels of carbohydrates will maximize satiety and promote weight loss

The bottom line: There is no universal diet that will work for health and weight loss, but with common-sense dietary strategies and an active life style, you can lose weight and reduce your risk of heart disease. You have to pick a diet that makes sense for your preferences that you can maintain for the long haul. Quitting the diet will end in weight regain and the health risks come with it.

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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