Weight loss has become an issue of urgency all over the globe. A fundamental reason for this could be a result of diet-associated health risks which are fast claiming the lives of many.
The global prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased substantially since 1980. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 52% of adults were classified as overweight or obese. (Source)
Being above a healthy weight is a major risk factor for the development of diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. (Source)
Obesity is a multifactorial disease caused by biological, behavioural, and environmental factors but it is mainly attributed to low physical activity and high consumption of energy-dense food for a prolonged period. (Source)
Obesity and overweight affect together over a third of the world’s population today, and if current trends continue, an estimated 38% of the world’s adult population will be overweight and another 20% will be obese by 2030. (Source)
What is the best treatment for weight loss?
There is no doubt that the first-line treatment of obesity is dietary management combined with behaviour modification, and secondarily, increased physical activity. (Source)
Weight loss medication and bariatric surgery are further recommended for specific subgroups of obese patients. (Source)
However, the key to successful weight loss lies in the prudent combination of all these approaches in the context of a healthy and balanced diet without severe restrictions or nutritional exaggerations. (Source)
In addition, setting realistic goals for weight loss is extremely important since the adoption of strict and difficult-to-reach goals may often lead to failure and discouragement. (Source)
For example, aiming to lose 5–10% of initial body weight within the first six months is a realistic approach, which is furthermore paralleled by a significant improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors such as heart diseases and diabetes. (Source)
Even so, beyond setting realistic goals, long-term adherence to dietary interventions represents also a great challenge, since many diets are pursued for only short periods especially those with extreme restrictions, leading to suboptimal long-term weight control. (Source)
There is a need to engage in long-term weight maintenance after initial weight loss. To achieve this, you should do the following:
1. Frequent self-monitoring of body weight
You need to constantly monitor your weight. This will help keep you in check.
2. Medical supervision for psychological support and positive feedback
There are dieticians and health care personnel all around, you should find one to whom you can be accountable.
3. Consistency of food intake
Consistently eating the same amount of food as you have been eating. Whatever means you have used to curtail your food intake you must continue with it.
Studies have shown that when we eat our meals little at a time, the body can metabolise them faster than when you consume a large meal at once.
4. Eating breakfast
Studies have shown that eating breakfast is very important for weight loss
5. Low-fat intake
Reduce intake of saturated fat (Animal fat). They are usually found in high-fat meats (beef) and dairy products. Instead, take in healthy fats.
These are found in nuts, avocado, vegetable oils, peanut butter and almond butter.
6. Low intake of unhealthy snacks
Nobody says “don’t eat snacks”, but a reduced intake will prevent weight gain
7. High levels of regular physical activity
Find a particular exercise that you will enjoy doing sustainably.
8. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and non-starchy vegetables contain lots of water and fibres and make you feel quickly satiated.
The ideal weight loss maintenance diet should be continuous, easy to comply with, and of low energy density. (Source)
It has been shown in healthy volunteers that consuming slowly a standardized meal may lead to a sharper rise in anorexigenic hormones such as leptin (the hormone that makes you feel satiated) and promote a feeling of fullness compared to a faster rate of meal consumption.
However, these preliminary findings are still undergoing further investigation. (Source)
What is the best diet for weight loss?
Only general principles and recommendations can be provided, and no single diet can be prescribed to all people with obesity or recommended as the best fit-for-all diet without strict individualization. (Source)
However, there are different kinds of diets, such as:
High-protein diets may promote satiety and prevent loss of muscle mass. Still, they can also be difficult to adhere to in the long term and potentially hazardous for subgroups of patients with impaired kidney function or other health problems. (Source)
Low-carbohydrate diets are effective and metabolically beneficial in the short term, but long-term adherence is an issue.
There might also be some health risks associated with long-term consumption of these diets, depending on their nutrient content as well as the individual’s health status and risk factor profile. (Source)
The Mediterranean diet is as effective as low-carbohydrate diets in weight loss and can also provide benefits for overall health due to its balanced composition and diversity of health-promoting micronutrients. (Source)
The Mediterranean diet is also called a heart-healthy diet.
Although setting realistic goals for weight loss is important, successful diets involve slow and steady changes. An even more important goal is weight loss maintenance and prevention of weight regain. (Source)
The ideal weight loss maintenance diet should be continuous and easy to comply with. (Source)
Suffix to this, eating high-quality fats and carbohydrates in the setting of a balanced diet cannot only promote weight loss, but also prevent coronary heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. (Source)
The best way out of weight loss is to engage in a healthy diet and the definition is consistent and straightforward:
A healthy diet is a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products and high-quality proteins and poor in added sugar, refined grains, and highly-processed foods. (Source).
To sum it up, the message we have been trying to pass across is, don’t involve yourself in a crash diet to lose weight, it doesn’t yield good results in the end.
Aside from the rebound weight gain you experience at the end of the diet period, you could make yourself vulnerable to infections due to a compromised immunity as a result of a nutrient deficiency.
Don’t forget the definition of a balanced diet, it contains all the six classes of food in the right proportion and they include carbohydrates, protein, fat and oil, mineral salts, vitamins and water.
Each of these plays a particular role in the proper functioning of your body when taken in the right proportion, that’s the key phrase there, you must eat right to live well.