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As time goes by, so do weight loss fads. In the eighties, we were all told to count calories. In the nineties, we all counted fat grams – calories didn’t matter so much. In the late nineties and early twenty first century, we began counting carbs and were told to eat a high protein, often high fat diet. We really need to be concerned with all of this to a point.

In a study (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association), Cara Ebbeling and David Ludwig, the associate director and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center of Boston Children’s Hospital, looked at how well people were able to maintain weight loss. As New York Times writer Mark Bittman points out, “few people maintain even a small portion of their weight loss after dieting.”

21 overweight and obese young adults who had lost 10 to 15 percent of their body weight were randomly asked to follow each of three diets for four weeks:

Diet #1. A standard low-fat diet with 60 percent carbohydrates (with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, though not unprocessed ones), 20 percent from protein and 20 percent from fat — a diet that has been widely recommended for 30 years.

Diet #2. An ultra-low-carb diet with 10 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 60 percent from fat and 30 percent from protein — what is popularly known as the “Atkins” diet.

Diet #3. A low glycemic diet, with 40 percent carbohydrates (specifically, minimally processed grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes), 40 percent fat and 20 percent protein.

On diet #1, the standard low-fat diet, participants burned the least amount of calories. They burned 350 calories (about an hour of moderate exercise or, a Snickers bar) more a day on #2, the “Atkins” diet. They burned 150 calories more (about an hour of light exercise) on the low glycemic diet.

Diet #3 is basically the diet that I eat, I feed my family and I encourage my patients to eat. If you are looking for a “diet” to follow, I recommend checking out the whole foods, Mediterranean Diet. But of course, it needs to be a lifestyle change not a diet.

So, let’s look at a Whole Food, Mediterranean Lifestyle:

The aim:

May include weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control.

The claim:

You’ll lose weight, keep it off, and avoid a host of chronic diseases.

The theory:

It’s generally accepted that the folks in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control, and a diet low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts, and other healthful foods.

Mediterranean diet pyramid that emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; eating fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; enjoying poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation; and saving sweets and red meat for special occasions.

I challenge you to change your diet, add in a few of my recommendations. You will shed pounds and I know you will feel better. Give it a try and let me know!

 

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