Nutrition-wise blog

Weight control: What the research says

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. December 21, 2010

Anyone who has begun or is on a weight loss journey knows that weight control — losing weight and keeping it off — can be a daily challenge. Weight control is a complex. It's about living a healthy lifestyle and making smart choices, despite the many hurdles life throws at you, whether they're physical, emotional or social.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you're looking for advice on weight control. Every week a new diet appears on bookshelves, magazine racks or online. Even when you go to the scientific and medical journals, there's debate about which diet is best for weight control. Teasing out all the variables can frustrate even the most dedicated researcher. So I thought I'd cut to the chase and offer some practical advice on weight control.

The bottom line really is that you must control calories through portion control, appropriate food choices and physical activity. However, there are few weight control tricks that can be culled from the diet research:

  • Eat some protein. Protein is cited as the most satiating nutrient. No need to overdo it, but include 1 to 3 ounces (28 to 85 grams) of a protein-rich food at meals. Protein, beyond its basic function of building and repair, moderates the rise of blood glucose. This steadies your hunger and energy levels.
  • Go low on the glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index — most fruits, veggies and whole grains — are part of any healthy diet. They contain fiber and water that give them bulk without the calories, making them filling foods. These properties also play a positive role in your body's metabolism and insulin response.
  • Choose the right carbs. Carbs are packed with nutrients that are essential to feeling good each day, and they likely play a strong role in disease prevention. Most of your choices here should be whole foods or as close to it as possible.
  • Be selective about fats. Fat plays a key role in our health. Fat also aids hunger control because it is slowly digested. Moderating the amount you eat will reduce your calories. Choosing healthier fats — nuts, oils and avocado, for instance — instead of saturated fats can improve your heart health and may have a role preserving good mental and physical health.

If you've had success with weight control, share what's worked for you. What are your food and motivational tips?

To your health,

Kate

19 Comments Posted

Dec. 21, 2010