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Fad diets come and go. Some, like low carb and high protein and fat diets, may work in the short term, but they can also pose serious health risks in the long run. Ultimately, the most successful long-term weight loss programs rely more on limiting how many calories you consume, and how many you burn through exercise and daily activity, rather than the actual composition of the diet.
Fasting may result in rapid weight loss, but you lose important lean muscle mass along with fat. All-liquid diets, which must be medically supervised, may be used for a short period of time, but these diets don't offer a long-term answer to weight loss.
Fads diets, which haven't had their health effects determined by rigorous clinical trials, may not be healthy options for weight loss. However, if you follow certain basic dietary recommendations, they can lead to weight loss:
To lose weight and keep it off, instead of thinking "diet," think about an individualized eating plan. A plan that's tailored to your personal likes and dislikes will have a better chance of producing lasting weight loss. A balanced diet that restricts calorie intake—1,200 to 1,400 calories for women and 1,500 to 1,800 calories for men—may work well. A registered dietician can help to make an individualized diet plan based on your particular situation.
Include a variety of foods in the diet.
All fats are not bad. We now know that polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats provide health benefits such as helping to keep the heart healthy. This means that nuts, seeds, and some types of oils, such as olive, safflower and canola, can be part of a healthy eating plan.
Choose whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread rather than white rice and white bread. Whole grain foods are richer in nutrients and higher in fiber, so the body absorbs them more slowly. This means they won't cause a rapid spike in insulin, which can trigger hunger and cravings.
Get at least five servings daily of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Different fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts and types of nutrients.
When dining out, ask for a take-home box, and avoid super-sized selections when you order take-out food. Many restaurant portions are too large for one person, so consider sharing an entrée or ordering an appetizer instead of a main dish from the entrée menu.
Read food labels carefully. Pay particular attention to the number of servings contained in the product and the serving size. If the label says a serving is 150 calories and there are three servings per container, if you eat the entire contents of the container, you've consumed 450 calories.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.