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Weight Loss and Diet Plans – Portion Size may Matter more than What We Eat!

Factors that stimulate your prompt for weight loss: 

  • Belt buckles moves down a notch or two
  • A favorite pair of jeans suddenly unzippable, and must shoved into a drawer
  • Diagnosis of prediabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Soaring blood pressure resistant to antihypertensive medications
  • … …

Ways for weight loss: 

  1. Meal plan and exercise regimen (Diet planning is the focus on this post, because eating is necessary, but exercise can be a choice)
  2. Diet pills/ laxatives/ diuretics/ starve and purge
  3. Impulsive change without a plan

A few facts about “weight” in American: 

  • Americans spend more than $46 billion a year on weight-reduction programs, but obesity rates remain rise.
  • Medicare and Medicaid fund approximately half of the $75 billion attributed to obesity-related health problems.
  • Modest weight decreases have been shown to decrease plasma lipid levels and hypertension
  • Losing 10% of one’s body weight can reduce lifetime medical costs by up to $5,300

3 Physiologic mechanisms implicates weight gain: 

  1. increased energy intake
  2. decreased energy expenditure
  3. increased energy storage

Thus, weight loss occurs: when caloric intake is lower than expenditure.

***To lose 1 lb. a week, one would have to restrict 500 kcal per day***

Diet Plans:

Very-Low-Calorie Diets:

  • although some restrict calories even more, the typical very-low-calorie diet allows approximately 800 calories per day
  • for extremely obese patients under the supervision of a physician***
  • prepared formulas replace daily meals for a period of up to several months
  • designed to bring about more rapid weight loss than can be achieved with conventional low-calorie diets
  • substantial loss usually occurs in the first few weeks

Low-Calorie Diets:

  • allow approximately 1,000 to 1,200 kcal a day
  • commercial plans: prepackaged meals (such as Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and Weight Watchers)
  • considered safer than very-low-calorie regimens, and better long-term results
  • can reduce total body weight by an average of 8% over 3 to 12 months.

Low-Fat Diets

  • restrict intake of fats to between 20% and 30% of the daily calories consumed
  • an essential nutrient, fats contain 9 kcal per gram (compared with 4 kcal per gram for both proteins and carbohydrates)
  • ***Fat matters, but calories count*** Thus, a low-fat diet that doesn’t include a reduction in overall caloric intake won’t promote weight loss, the body will store carbohydrates as fat.
  • Fact: many “fat-free” products have more calories than the foods they are designed to replace. 

Very-Low-Fat Diets

  • fat constitutes as 15% of calories consumed
  • contain a higher proportion of complex carbohydrates
  • if people replace fat calories with fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and low in calories, they will consume fewer calories and lose weight.
  • American Heart Association Science Advisory states that very-low-fat diets are not appropriate for young children, the elderly, pregnant women, or people with eating disorders and that people “with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, elevated triglyceride levels, and carbohydrate malabsorption illnessed should also avoid such a diet. ***

Moderate-Fat, Low Calorie Diets – Also called Mediterranean Style Diet: 

  • allow up to 35% of calories from fats and limit carbohydrates and proteins
  • incorporate essential omega-3 fatty acids
  • result showed an average weight loss of 4.1 kg in those following the Mediterranean-style diet (30-month period)
  • better long-term participation and adherence
  • Study shown to have a 50% to 70% lower risk of recurrent heart disease ***

Low-Carbohydrate, High-Protein Diets:

  • allow only 20g to 90g of carbohydrates per day, protein and fat are unrestricted
  • When carbohydrate intake is minimized, glycogen stores and fats are used as energy sources, altering the body’s metabolism and causing an initial loss of weight from ketosis and diuresis.
  • by restricting carbohydrates, these diets eliminate many nutrient sources
  • supplemental vitamins, minerals, and fiber may be required
  • Most famous book – Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (1972)
  • Studies suggested that low-carbohydrate diet was associated with improvements in coronary heart disease risk factors: increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and decreased triglyceride levels. However more studies are needed.
  • ***Adverse Effects***
    • vitamin deficiencies
    • altered cognitive function (a complication of ketosis)
    • increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels
    • increases in the glomerular filtration rate
    • long term effects can include nephrolithiasis (renal stones), osteoporosis, and progression of chronic renal insufficiency


Several Types of Diet Plans Produce at least Short-Term Weight Loss, however, Portion Size may Matter more than What We Eat!

A few more facts about “weight” in American: 

  • in 2002 Young and Nestle found that the average portion of a single serving of cooked pasta was 480% greater than the recommended serving size.
  • Cookies were 700% larger


Resource retrieved from http://www.nursingcenter.com

Baker, B. (2016) Weigh loss and diet plans

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