The real challenge in aiding patients in weight control isn't helping them shed the pounds; it's helping them maintain their new, slimmer figure. Most people find it fairly easy to lose weight, but much harder to keep it off. New research shows when it comes to keeping the pounds off, what you eat is as important as how much you eat.
There is so much dieting advice out there, it can be overwhelming. That's why the National Institutes of Health funded a study to help find the best way for dieters to maintain their weight loss.
Only one out of six obese adults is able to maintain 10 percent weight loss for a year. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) yielded some interesting results. People on a low-carb diet for maintenance actually burned 300 more calories at rest than those on a traditional low-fat diet. But those following a low-glycemic eating routine with 40 percent of calories from carbs, 40 percent from fat and 20 percent from protein, had the best overall health and weight maintenance.
U.T. Health Science Center registered dietitian Sue Cunningham said the findings don't really surprise her.
"A nice balance between protein, carbohydrate and fat," Cunningham explained. "We want, in each of the different food groups, good choices. So that there is more fiber, more nutrient content, more vitamins and minerals than just looking at the calories."
The study adds another voice to the chorus of scientists who believe that what people eat is just as important as how much they eat. All calories are not equal. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables may work well for many people looking to maintain their weight.
"This kind of a dietary plan will help them to feel full longer," Cunningham said. "It'll help give them that satisfaction from their food, what we call satiety."
Although you may be able to jump-start a diet with low-carb or low-fat choices, a low-glycemic index diet may be better in the long run than severely restricting any one category of foods.
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