Having so many diet options makes it difficult to know which ones to trust. For this reason, The Partnership for Healthy Weight Management has developed the "Voluntary Guidelines for Providers of Weight Loss Products or Services." The mission for these guidelines is to "promote sound guidance to the general public on strategies for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight." According to the guidelines, effective weight management involves:
When fat loss is the goal, the one macronutrient I like to be aware of is protein. Aim for 0.6 – 0.7 grams of protein per pound* of bodyweight as a daily average. If you’re obese, then eat approximately 0.6-0.7 grams per pound of your general-target bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 210 pounds and know 160 pounds is a healthy body weight for you, then eat 0.7 grams per pound of that 160 pound target (in this example that would be about 96-112 grams of protein).
For even more impressive effects on body composition: aim for exercise forms which elicit a positive hormonal response. This means lifting really heavy things (strength training), or interval training. Such exercise increases levels of the sex hormone testosterone (primarily in men) as well as growth hormone. Not only do greater levels of these hormones increase your muscle mass, but they also decrease your visceral fat (belly fat) in the long term.
This high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb fad diet sends the body into a state of ketosis, in which the body uses stored fat for energy. Research published in Clinical Cardiology suggests the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet can be an effective weight loss method, but to be successful, you must follow the plan consistently with no cheat days — otherwise, you’re just eating a high-fat diet that may be high in unhealthy fats for no reason. (1) (A pro tip? If you're planning on doing the diet, consider perusing this complete keto food list and reading up on the healthiest fats for keto diet followers.)
Make sure that the diet has been studied extensively for safety — and discuss any changes with your physician or registered dietitian before beginning a new diet. (If you don’t have a dietitian, find one in your area at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.) And do a self-check to ensure the diet fits with your own values and preferences.
Our diets are meant to have a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. When you consume too little of one of these nutrients it means you are consuming too much of another nutrient. Most people who follow a very low-fat diet end up consuming an excess amount of carbohydrates. Too much of any nutrient can cause health problems. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) established the need for each one of these nutrients based on research for optimal health and weight. The DRI set the dietary goals at 45% to 65% from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein. If you follow the Pritikin Principle it would be best to adjust your intake to meet the DRI guidelines.
Diet is like the engine of a car, and exercise is like the steering wheel. If you don’t turn on the engine and you’re just sitting there yanking the steering wheel from side to side, you’re not accomplishing much. But you definitely don’t want to turn on that engine without a working steering wheel. If you’re going to turn on the engine and start going 60mph, you better have a steering wheel to make sure you’re going where you want to go.
The MIND diet, or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, is a sort of hybrid between the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. It features foods meant to slow the progression or development of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and an incurable neurodegenerative condition that more than 5 million Americans are living with, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. (12) Some research backs up this notion, including a study published in September 2016 in Alzheimer’s Dementia that found a link between following the MIND Diet and a reduced risk of the disease. (13)
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