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How to Choose a Good Weight Loss Diet

 Choose a Realistic Healthy Weight Loss Diet

We all want to lose weight fast, preferably by eating our normal favorite foods! Unfortunately, successful weight loss means slow but steady weight loss and a change of eating habits. Here are a few suggestions to help you choose a successful weight loss diet.

How to Choose a Good Weight Loss Diet

1. A Healthy Weight Loss Diet

The emphasis of any sensible weight reducing diet plan should be healthy weight loss, not fast weight loss. So the best type of weight loss diet is a calorie-reduced version of a healthy balanced diet, using foods from all food groups as outlined in the Food Pyramid Guidelines and Diet Guidelines

Weight Loss Pyramid

The weight loss pyramid (see below) is a replication of the Food Guide Pyramid, except that the number of servings from each food group is reduced to the minimum amount for good health. Generally speaking a weight loss diet should be viewed as a normal diet minus calories, leaving a nutrient-dense eating plan calorie controlled for slow but steady weight loss.

Table 1. Weight Loss Pyramid

(Eat Sparingly)
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese Group
(2 Servings - Low-fat/Fat-free)
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, Eggs, Nuts
(5-7 ounces)
Vegetable Group
(3-5 Servings)
Fruit Group
(2-4 Servings)
Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta Group
(5-8 Servings)

Healthy Weight Loss Diet - In a Nutshell

  • Weight loss diet theories are everywhere. So let's ignore the High-Protein Low-Carb vs. Low Fat diet argument and focus on what constitutes a healthy weight loss diet plan.

  • In terms of total calories, and calories from fat, carbs and protein, here are ballpark figures for a healthy weight loss diet.

  • Total Calories: Between 1200-2200 calories a day, depending on how much weight you have to lose.

  • Calories from Fat: About 25-30 percent, of which 1/3 max should be saturated fat. Vegetable fats (especially those containing Omega 3 fatty acids) or fish oils, are preferable to animal fats.

  • Calories from Carbs: About 50-60 percent. Choose wholegrains and lower Glycemic Index (GI) carbs when possible. Higher GI carbs are okay in combination with lower GI foods.

  • Calories from Protein: About 15-20 percent. Include vegetable protein occasionally.

  • Balance Your Weight Loss Diet: The most successful weight loss diet is a balanced one with a variety of unprocessed fresh foods that keep your body healthy. Remember: a healthy body loses weight faster than a sluggish unhealthy body.

2. A Weight Loss Diet Written by a Qualified Doctor/Dietitian/Nutritionist

Even the most qualified doctors and so-called experts can create unhealthy weight loss diets. Nevertheless, it makes good diet sense to choose a weight loss diet written by a professional. Ideally, it should provide a healthy diet plan plus advice on nutrition and exercise, plus a weight loss support service.

3. A Weight Loss Diet with Sufficient Calories

Many weight loss diets are based on gimmicks. For example, they advise you to restrict certain foods, or they tell you to eat a specific combination of diet-foods. However, the reason such diets help you to lose weight is because their calorie-level is very low. In other words, you lose weight because these diets are feeding you a very low level of calories, NOT because of their magical restricted-food or food-combination formulas.

4. A Weight Loss Diet that Offers Slow but Steady Weight Loss

A sensible weight loss diet offers a healthy rate of weight reduction. After all, the human body can only sustain fat loss of 'about' 2-3 pounds per week - more rapid weight loss won't be fat-loss but water or water-and-muscle loss. Water loss is regained almost immediately, while loss of muscle or lean body tissue is unhealthy and causes a drop in metabolic rate. A lower metabolism can lead to weight gain.

5. A Weight Loss Diet that Focuses Exclusively on Real Food

Diet and weight loss supplements and 'essential extras' are big business. But usually these diet and weight loss extras are unnecessary and expensive. Instead, choose a diet that focuses just on real food.

6. A Weight Loss Diet You Can Follow for Life

Some diets offer short-term weight loss only. Their eating plans are too restrictive for long term use. These diets are not ideal and cannot improve your long term eating habits. Ideally, choose a weight loss diet you can follow for life and which teaches you lasting eating habits.

Weight Loss Diets that Are Less Reliable - Summary.

  • Any weight loss diet written by an unqualified person.

  • Any weight loss diet that excludes or severely limits foods from any main food group as listed in the Food Guide Pyramid.

  • Any weight loss diet plan that offers extravagant weight loss.

  • Any weight loss diet that is short-term only.

Sources include: US Dietary Guidelines & Food Guide Pyramid (FDA). UK Health Service.


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