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Nutrition for Weight Management

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Linda Anegawa
Reviewer

Linda Anegawa

Dr. Anegawa graduated from Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine & completed her residency at Stanford. Linda has over 15 yrs of practice and currently specializes in weight management & diabetes.

March 8, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

Nutrition for Weight Management

March is National Nutrition Month! To celebrate, we’re sharing some of the most effective ways nutrition can help with weight loss.

You may know that healthier eating can help you lose weight. But there is a lot of information out there, and some of it is not only confusing but frankly contradictory. Weeding through all that advice can be easier said than done.

That’s why we’ve compiled some tips and information on nutrition to optimize your weight. We want to help you succeed on your weight loss journey, so you can live a longer, healthier life. 

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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Consequences of Obesity

Obesity increases your risk of early death due to serious diseases and health conditions, such as:

  • Abnormal cholesterol, including low HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Mental illness like anxiety, clinical depression, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning
  • Many types of cancers
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Stroke
  • Abnormal blood sugars including Prediabetes, Gestational Diabetes, and Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Low quality of life due to associated chronic pain and low self-esteem

Tips for Eating Healthy

Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind about how to start to improve your eating:

  • Consider tracking what you eat, using one of the many available apps or even a notebook.  Tracking increases our awareness of what you eat and can help make you more mindful of how what you eat can affect the scale.   It’s also fun to watch your eating patterns change over time.
  • Start with a small change, such as eliminating soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Consider eating out one less time per week and choosing to eat at home instead.  Purchasing fast foods or other grab-and-go items gives us less control over what we eat.  
  • Learn new methods of food preparation – perhaps incorporating grilling or sauteing – which are healthy, quick and easy.  
  • Begin to focus meals on Proteins and Greens with healthy Fats added in. These types of foods increase fullness, so we are less likely to overeat and binge. Even changing one meal per day is a great start! Example: for breakfast, try scrambled eggs with spinach and avocado, topped with tomato salsa and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.

The Top Weight-Loss Friendly Foods

You might think that 100 calories is the same no matter what food it comes from. However, that’s not really true since some foods are more nutritious or filling than others. Here are some of the top weight-loss-friendly foods:

  • Eggs (whole) are nutrient-dense, high in protein, and keep you full longer.
  • Leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrates and high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Salmon is high in protein, healthy fats, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts) are high in fiber, have a decent amount of protein, and help keep you full.
  • Chicken breast and lean beef is high in protein, keeps you full, and helps you burn more calories.
  • Tuna is high in protein and low in fat.
  • Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium and low in fat.
  • Certain types of Fruit have low energy density, and the fiber content helps prevent the natural sugar from being released too quickly into your bloodstream. Examples:  dark berries.

Unhealthy Diet or Exercise Programs

It seems like there’s a new fad diet every few months. Generally, any diet that removes food groups or severely restricts calories can cause problems. A few examples of dangerous fad diets include:

  • Military Diet. This low-calorie diet of odd food pairings (like bun-less hot dogs with banana, carrots, and broccoli) can create nutritional deficiencies and lead to disordered eating patterns. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Diet. There’s not enough evidence to show that drinking apple cider vinegar every day promotes weight loss, and it may cause stomach irritation or tooth erosion.
  • Cabbage Soup Diet. There’s no research to suggest that eating cabbage soup three times a day will lead to consistent, healthy weight loss. 
  • Dukan Diet. This ultra-high-protein diet can cause nutritional deficiencies.
  • Cleanses and detoxes can be dangerous and lead to nutritional deficiencies or rebound binge eating. 

Weight Loss Myths

There are a lot of weight loss myths on the internet, and some can be downright dangerous. Here are some of the most common weight loss myths on the internet:

  • All calories are equal. We’ve been taught that “calories in, calories out” is the main way to think about weight loss, but that’s far from the truth. The way our bodies regulate weight is less like a math equation and more like a complex chemistry lab! Therefore, protein, fat, and carbohydrates can affect your body differently.
  • Losing weight is a linear process.  The process of weight loss can be quite irregular.  It’s common to lose more quickly initially, and then to have weeks where you lose nothing or even gain a little. Entirely normal!  
  • Supplements can help you lose weight. Most over-the-counter supplements are ineffective at causing weight loss.  Reported positive results are usually due to either the placebo effect or something called publication bias, where only research showing a positive effect is published.
  • Obesity is about willpower. There are many biological and genetic factors that can cause obesity and make it difficult to lose weight.  In addition, once we’ve gained weight, our body creates a high weight set point, which can increase the challenge.  Over-relying on willpower can set you up for frustration.
  • Fat makes you fat.  Fat has been unfairly demonized over the years, when in fact it is one of the two essential macronutrients that our body needs day to day for survival (the other is protein). Fat can actually help us lose weight by decreasing hunger and when combined with carbohydrate reduction, can reduce levels of the fat-storage hormone insulin.  
  • Weight loss diets work. 85% of dieters end up gaining back the weight within a year. This is why eliminating the “all or none” mentality of chronic dieting is so important in long-term success.  One truly has to think of the path towards wellness as lifestyle change.
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Want a Doctor’s Advice?

Creating a new diet plan can be tricky. Talking to a doctor can help you come up with a weight-loss plan you can actually stick to. For a video or phone appointment with one of our trusted doctors, call (888) 660-1464 or click here any time.


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Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences. Accessed on March 6, 2020 at https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html

Cleveland Clinic. 6 Worst Myths You’ve Ever Heard About Weight Loss. Accessed on February 14. 2021 at https://health.clevelandclinic.org/6-worst-myths-youve-ever-heard-about-weight-loss/

NIH. Some Myths about Nutrition & Physical Activity. Accessed on February 14. 2021 at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/myths-nutrition-physical-activity

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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