Diet Therapy

Diet therapy involves reduction in your calorie intake by learning which foods are best, selecting correct portion sizes and learning about optimal food preparation.

Keeping a food diary first helps you to see what and how much you eat and drink. Once you are on a plan to modify your habits, the diary can also serve as a continuing guide to you as you make your daily choices.

How much to eat is not always so simple a question to answer. Although you will need to eat fewer calories if you are to lose weight, the degree to which you restrict your intake may best be determined with some professional input. "Low-calorie" diets involve the ingestion of from 800 to 1400 calories per day and are best suited to those with a BMI over 27 or those with BMI of 25 or more, but with co-morbid conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes). "So-called "very low" calorie diets allow intake of less than 800 calories per day and are intended for those whose BMI is over 30, or those with co-morbidities whose BMIs are greater than 27. Any individuals who use diets that restrict them to less than 1000 calories per day are best advised to do so under physician guidance. Such diets can lead to other health problems including nutritional deficiencies.

One of the things that many feel is essential in successful dieting is "portion control." Everything in our society is "super-sized," and one must become sensitive to the threat that oversized meals represent. It can be quite an eye-opener to learn about appropriate serving sizes for the things we eat.

It is particularly important that people be careful with the use of "fad" diets that promise rapid weight loss in short periods of time. These prescriptions most often lead to loss of water weight rather than fat, and can severely deplete the body of essential elements because they do not provide the balance needed for sound nutrition. If the claims of a diet seem too good to be true, it is because they are! Remember that many studies have shown that consistent and persistent weight loss do not result from any of these diets. (Read more about fad diets.)

Reading LabelsOnce of the essential tools you will need going forward if you are to lose weight and maintain your healthier shape is a greater knowledge of what foods contain and what components to avoid or restrict. Reading labels is an important habit to form as you shop and separate the lower calorie items from those rich with potentially harmful ingredients. Foods that contain lots of processed carbohydrates are generally poor choices, and foods with high fat content will have many more calories than other foods that are more rich in protein or complex carbohydrate.

Among the resources you may find of use are:

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