Keeping Weight Off

Supplied by Joel Fuhrman,

By Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.

According to a new study by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, people who lose weight are more likely to keep the weight off permanently if they eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with smaller portions of lean meat, poultry, and seafood. (It should be noted that in addition to helping people keep the extra weight off, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also the most healthful foods.)

The researchers collected data from the USDA’s Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals 1994-1996, which included reported food consumption information from 10,014 adults nationwide who were not on diets. For the study, the researchers divided these people into four groups based on the amount of carbohydrate they ate daily—Group one: less than 30 percent of calories; Group two: 30-45 percent; Group three: 45-55 percent; and Group four: more than 55 percent.

Those whose diets consisted of more than 55 percent carbohydrates ate about 200 fewer calories per day while eating the same amount of food as the others. This group’s average daily calorie intake was 1,840 compared with the 2,031 calories eaten daily by those whose diets were less than 30 percent carbohydrates. In addition to boasting the lowest Body Mass Index (BMI) and lower caloric intake, the high-carbohydrate group also ate the most nutritious diet. It turns out that the high carbohydrate group ate more fruit. Also, one of their strategies was to choose foods that were high in water content and high in dietary fiber, and foods that were low in fat. This way, they were able to eat more food (by volume), without increasing their caloric intake.

A note of interest: People in all groups consumed about 10-14 percent of their daily calories from caloric beverages, including alcohol, soft drinks, and fruit juices. Your body doesn’t register liquid calories the same way it does solid calories. They don’t fill you up as if you had consumed the same amount of calories in the form of food. So, cutting out those caloric beverages might be a great way for you to cut out some extra calories.

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