Eating Healthy: the Basics

1. What is a healthy breakfast?
2. What is a healthy lunch?
3. What is a healthy dinner?
4. How much should I weigh?
5. How many calories should I be eating?
6. What is the best way to lose weight?
7. How can I keep my weight loss goal in mind and stay motivated?
8. What is a healthy weekly weight loss?
9. How to set weight loss goals and make them happen
10. How to keep a food diary, and why it is essential to successful weight loss
11. Are all fats bad for you?
12. Are saturated fats bad for you?
13. Are unsaturated fats good for you?
14. Are carbohydrates bad for you?
15. Is fiber good for you?
16. How to read nutrition/food labels
17. How to plan your weekly menus
18. Why should I eat less salt?
19. What do the sodium (salt) numbers mean on food labels?
20. What is The Mediterranean Diet?
21. Why eating vegetables is good for you
22. Why eating fruit and nuts is good for you
23. Why are cereals and whole grains good for you?
24. What are legumes, and why are they good for you?
25. Why is eating fish good for you?
26. Which fats and oils are good for you?
27. Are dairy products good for you?
28. Which meats should I not eat?
29. Is drinking alcohol good for you?
30. Is it important to measure your ingredients?
31. Are snacks good for you?
32. How to choose the right portion size
33. Can you lose weight with a smaller plate?
34. Eat healthier by cleaning out your pantry
35. Which oils and fats should I keep in my pantry?
35. Which oils and fats are good for you - and when should I use them?
36. Which carbohydrates are good for you?
37. What is the best chicken or turkey for you?
38. Are dairy products good for you?
39. Which nuts and seeds should I eat?
40. Is red meat like beef or pork bad or good for you?
41. Is eating dessert good or bad for you?
42. Is drinking soda bad for you?
43. Is drinking coffee bad for you?
44. How can healthy food taste good? Part 1
45. How can healthy food taste good? Part 2
46. How to eat healthy while eating out
47. Are vitamins and supplements necessary to eat healthy?
48. How to eat healthy while traveling


Eating Healthy: the Basics

What is the best way to lose weight?

There has been so much debate about what is the best way to lose weight that it's no wonder that folks are confused. High fat? Low fat? No carbs? Some carbs? Good fat? Bad carbs? Low protein? Just what is right?

I've seen a lot of studies on all types of diets and the results have been a bit confounding. The research is often too short (six months or less) or they don’t include a good mix of men and women. Sometimes they're just too small to draw any real conclusion.

Researchers recently created a study with an eye to overcoming the barriers to a quality study - and answer the question of what combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates is best for sustained weight loss (N E J M 2009: 360:859-73).

They recruited 645 overweight men and women for a two-year program of weight loss. Each person was randomly assigned to one of four diets:

  • Low-fat, average-protein (20% fat, 15% protein, 65% carbohydrates)
  • Low-fat, high-protein (20% fat, 25% protein, 55% carbohydrates)
  • High-fat, average-protein (40% fat, 15% protein, 45% carbohydrates)
  • High-fat, high-protein (40% fat, 25% protein, 35% carbohydrates)

The four plans were healthy diets, in that they were low in saturated fat, high fiber and low cholesterol. The participants were taught to choose healthier carbohydrates (regardless of the amount carbs they were assigned to eat).

Each person exercised moderately for about 90 minutes per week and there were support sessions during the study. They received individually customized meal plans in two-week blocks that aimed for a 750 calorie deficit in their daily intake. They also tracked their calories with an online food and exercise journal.

During the first six months all of the subjects lost about the same amount of weight, regardless of which diet they were on. They also regained about the same amount of weight after the first year of the diets. In the end a third lost at least 5% of their body weight and kept it off throughout the study.

Finally! Proof that it doesn't matter what combination of fat, protein or carbohydrates you eat as long as you eat fewer calories.