There are literally hundreds of different diets on the market these days from reducing fat to near nothing to eating only high carbohydrate foods to choosing foods that are high in protein. Some diets have knocked out carbs nearly completely while others have said that only certain fats are good and an increase of protein will make the weight drop. So how do you choose a diet that will work? The latest answer from a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study that was conducted over the period of three years claims that no matter which diet is chosen and whether the focus is on fat, protein, or carbohydrates, as long as there is a reduction of calories you will lose weight!
The study at Harvard was conducted with more than 800 men and women who were required to drop their daily caloric intake by at least 720 calories but never to drop below 1200 calories per day. In addition to lowering calories, the participants of the study were also asked to exercise moderately for at least an hour and a half per week and attend routine counseling sessions. The outcome–those who maintained a lower calorie diet (regardless of a focus on protein, fat or carbohydrates) and attended counseling sessions lost an average of 22 pounds over the course of 2 years.
While 22 pounds may not sound like a whole lot the point of the study was to show that the type of diet that you go on does not necessarily matter as much as the consistence and the need to lower calories. There have been some diets that stated that calories did not matter as much as the content of fat or protein and this study proves that the findings of more recent studies may not be correct. So, how can you reduce your daily caloric intake to lose weight without changing what you eat?
Ways to Reduce Calories and Lose Weight Effectively:
Drink Water: The more water you drink the better! Water is not only calorie free unlike most other drinks including sodas and juices that pack on hundreds of calories per serving but it also makes you feel full. For a reduced calorie diet, water can help prolong the fullness feeling in between meals. Try drinking a large glass of water before meals so that during meal time you are inclined to eat less.
Whole Grains: Whole grain breads and pastas are naturally heavier and weigh in on the stomach to make it feel fuller longer than enriched white breads and pastas. In addition, many whole grain sources are lower in calories than enriched whites. To reduce calories, eat whole grains that will keep you feeling full longer than enriched white breads and pastas.
Smaller Portions: Studies, including this study by Harvard, have shown that reducing portion sizes is also an effective way to reduce calories in the diet. Most American’s do not pay close attention to portion sizes and this is one of the leading causes of obesity. A reduction in portion sizes allows dieters to eat what they want and still lose weight.
Harvard School of Public Health, www.HSPH.harvard.edu
Diets that Reduce Calories Lead to Weight Loss, Regardless of Carbohydrate, Protein, or Fat Content, Todd Datz, www.dietaryfiberfood.com