Friday, March 6, 2009

Choice of Diet Does Matter

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that all diets that reduce calories work equally well. Of course that is true. Reduce calories, lose weight. The article suggested that it does not really matter whether you choose to lower your carbohydrates, your fat or whatever, just so you reduce your calories consistently over time. Like most large studies of weight loss, the overall results are disappointing in that most people do not stay with weight loss diets and the average weight loss is modest. That is because the people not staying with their diets dilute out those who lose a lot of weight.

What these studies miss is what your experience is with different diet approaches. How do thay affect your overall health? In my previous Blogs here, I have emphasized the importance of reducing simple carbohydrates, like sodas and sweets, since they drive hunger. It is very hard, probably impossible, to stay on a diet program if you are always hungry. Good protein sources, whether from dairy, lean meats, fish, nuts and vegetables, suppress hunger by causing your blood sugar to rise more slowly and remain more steady throughout the day. The rise and fall in blood sugar impacts your hunger. Finally, saturated fats are not good for your health and should be avoided in any healthy diet.

So, what you eat does matter. Your choice of foods will impact your hunger and affect how many calories you are likely to eat in a day. Your food choices affect more than your weight, but also your cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. When choosing a diet program for weight loss, make a healthy choice and choose a program that you can stay on for life. Afterall, weight control is a lifelong pursuit. You can vary your protein sources depending on your food preferences, and focus on healthy fats like vegetable oils and avoid the unhealthy satureated fats from things like hamburgers and french fries. Choose a diet program that works for you throughout the day and results in your not eating any more calories than you want to either to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

And remember, be physically active to burn those calories so you are more likely to lose unwanted weight.

1 comment:

Indiancowboy said...

Thank you for this excellent post. The importance of protein and healthy fats is sadly overlooked by many MDs. But eh, what can you do when a lack of focus on the science of nutrition and exercise begins from our first day of school onwards.

I personally counsel dietary composition change before we start calorie reduction. Small steps.

Thanks again for this piece though.