So, what can we conclude from the data on weight-loss diets?
Many studies have found little difference in weight loss among different diets but
did find differences in long-term health effects. For example, a meta-analysis of 19
trials found little or no difference in weight loss and changes in cardiovascular risk
factors after up to two years of follow-up when overweight and obese adults, with or
without type 2 diabetes, consumed low carbohydrate diets and balanced weight-loss
diets with the same calorie content. Differences in the effectiveness of various
types of diet for just weight loss relate mainly to the degree of adherence to the diet
and the extent of calorie restriction rather than their macronutrient composition.
But sticking to a diet that leads to a sustained normal weight is much easier if it
is low in calorie density, avoids refined grains, added sugar and highly processed
foods that are loaded with sugars, fats, and salt, and is high in plant-based high fiber
foods—fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
The long-term health effects of some low-carbohydrate diets have the potential to
increase cardiovascular disease risk by increasing unhealthy LDL cholesterol, and
high-quality diets can reduce CVD risk. Low fat and low carb (and many other
diets) work for short term weight loss, but only healthy diets should be considered
for long-term nutrition.
We can see and measure the fat in our bodies, but we also need to adopt diets that
prevent cancer, high blood pressure and the silent and unseen build-up of arteriosclerosis
in our blood vessels that ultimately leads to heart disease or a fatal heart
attack—still the leading cause of death in the U.S. Avoiding most processed food
and eating a whole food plant-based diet will give you the benefits of being high
in fiber, low in added sugars, low in saturated fats and it will not be calorie-dense.
Add in substantial exercise, and you have a good recipe for staying healthy, gaining
muscle and losing fat, inches, and weight.
For most people, successful weight loss requires a change in lifestyle—a change
in behavior. In general, to lose weight requires dietary changes and, if you are
sedentary or not very active, increased physical activity. It may take some experimentation
to figure out what combination of behavior changes relating to diet and
exercise works best for each individual. Your number one goal should be to avoid
accumulating or to lose any excess visceral fat—the fat in and around your liver and
other abdominal organs that shows up as increased girth. To become metabolically
healthy should be your first objective.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel