Weight Loss -- Comprehensive Review of
Effective Weight Loss Plans
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August 19, 2009, last updated June 11, 2014

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of our
Editorial Board.]

Weight loss has become a national obsession. We are a
nation on a perpetual diet.  And with good reason.  The
Centers for Disease Control estimates that over 66% of all
Americans are overweight. A full 1/3 of Americans are
obese. With the bombardment of information on
weight loss in the market today, it's become increasing
difficult to sort through the various claims of weight loss
plans.  Which kind of diet works best for fast weight loss?  
Low-carb? Low-fat? Something else? And does counting
calories really matter anymore?

To find out, we've combed through research studies from
universities and government agencies around the world to
come up with the list of those weight management tools
and plans which actually have helped people to lose weight,
and keep it off, over a long period of time. Only those
weight loss tools with proven results in helping you to lose
weight ---and keep it off--have made our list.

Weight loss alone is not a healthy goal, of course. We have
carefully avoided including the diet-of-the-moment quick fix
solutions which have yet to be tested thoroughly by
medical research, such as acai berry diets and so-called
"master cleanse" or cayenne pepper cleanses and fasts.   
Here, then,  is our list of the best healthy weight loss tips,
plans and management tools we could find, based on
medical research:

Keep a  Food Diary/Journal What You Eat.  Keeping a
food diary to write down what you eat works.

A 2008 study by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health
Research in Portland, Orgegon found that keeping a food
doubles your weight loss.

The reason a food diary helps with weight loss is that many
of us eat "unconsciously". We much as we watch TV, as we
walk during lunch. We eat on-the-go. We nibble as we wait
between meals. It adds up.  

In the Kaiser Permanente study, all the participants were
asked to follow heart-healthy diets and to exercise
moderately. But " those who kept daily food records lost
twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It
seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat
encourages people to consume fewer calories", according
to lead researcher Dr. Jack Hollis.

Calories Do Count.  In a landmark study lead by the
Harvard University School of Public Health (known as  the
POUNDS LOST study), 811 overweight and obese adults
aged 30 to 70 were assigned to one of four diets, and
asked to record their food intake in a diary or an online tool
that showed how intake compared with goals. Group diet
counseling sessions were held at least twice per month
throughout the two years of the study, and individual
sessions were held every eight weeks.

Participants were given personalized calorie goals, ranging
from 1,200 to 2,400 calories per day, which reduced their
overall caloric intake as compared with their daily energy
requirement. All participants were asked to do
moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking,
for at least 90 minutes per week. Study participants were
diverse in gender and ethnicity, with 38 percent men and
22 percent representing minorities. Participants did not
have diabetes or severe heart disease but could have had
other risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high
cholesterol. (Read about
why Europeans are thinner than

Low-Carb versus Low-Fat.  Which diet works best for
weight loss--low carb or low-fat?  The answer, it seems,
depends on your time frame.

If you want to lose weight fast--choose low-carb.  Most
studies have found that low-carb diets work best in the
shorter term for reducing weight. A University of
Pennsylvania Medical Center study found that people who
are severely obese (
BMI of 43 or higher) lost more weight
on a low-carb diet than on a low-fat diet.

132 subjects were put on either low-carb or low-fat diets
for six months. 79 completed the study. Those on the
low-carb diet lost more than twice the weight of those on
the low-fat diet. The low-carb dieters also saw vast
improvements in their insulin sensitivity and

Other studies have reached the same conclusion. Studies of
the types of
breakfast that promotes weight loss have
found that eating fewer carbohydrates at breakfast leads to
greater weight loss than eating breakfasts that are low in
fat.  All foods which are high in protein are low in carbs.
These include meats, chicken, turkey, fish, dairy, soy
products and, the 5000-year old "new" kid on the block,

But if you want to lose weight ---and keep it off --- better
also watch your fat. Several studies have also found that,
over the long haul, meaning a period greater than a year,
you must also monitor your fat intake to lose and sustain
weight loss.

Fibers Works. Fiber keeps you full longer. As a result,
you eat less. And the best type of fiber for weight loss is
fermentable fiber. One such fiber is inulin, found naturally
in artichokes and other foods. Inulin is the reason that
artichokes can suppress your appetite. Inulin is also
the fiber prominent in new fad diet foods such as

But eating fiber, fermentable or not, is not a panacea.
Fiber, like any other weight loss aid, can be abused, with
disastrous consequences. Overuse of fiber or laxatives as
weight loss tools can result in dehydration, intestinal
distress, bloating, blockage and worse.

Monotony Works. We all love variety, right? Variety is
the spice of life but when it comes to dieting, variety can be
your worst enemy. Sticking to a set formula for at least two
of your meals each day can help you to control your calorie
intake. You are much less likely to add extra calories if you
always have the same thing for breakfast, for example, a
bowl of whole grain cereal with skim or 1% fat milk topped
with some strawberries or half a banana.  Add a small glass
of orange juice. Done.

For lunch, stick with a gigantic green salad topped with
your choice of seafood (tuna, sardines are almost always
available, shrimps --if you're not allergic --salmon, etc) and
balsamic vinegar-based dressing. Done.

Now you've got two meals covered and your calories are
under control.  Then, if you want to vary dinner, go ahead.

Mushrooms Help to Prevent Weight Gain

The Only Type of Exercise That Reduces Your Waist

Ideal Breakfast to Lose Weight/ Diet and Exercise --A
Simple Plan for Life / Foods That Shrink Your Waist  / Why
Waist Size Matters / Quinoa-The New Superfood for
Weight Loss

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