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The best diets for weight loss in 2024

Here are three healthy diets that can help you meet your weight loss goals this year.

March 04, 2024

Diet trends come and go, leaving many post-holiday revelers guessing how to best fulfill their New Year’s resolution to lose weight for the long-term. In general, people who achieve the most successful weight loss do so through a combination of healthy eating and regular physical activity. 

Getting started

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are a few things to remember before beginning your weight loss journey: 

  1. Portion size is important.
  2. The number of calories consumed is important. 
  3. The type of calories consumed is important — proper nourishment is key to healthy weight loss. 

In addition, you should:

  1. Set realistic nutrition and physical activity goals with your physician. 
  2. Eat regular meals. 
  3. Weigh yourself routinely, but don’t let small setbacks sidetrack your long-term plan.

Healthy diet choices

We all want a magic bullet when it comes to losing weight, but the best diets are those that focus less on immediate gratification and more on lifestyle changes that will improve your health for the long haul. In fact, many experts recommend less emphasis on avoiding certain foods and more emphasis on adding extra fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your meals. Here are three diet regimens that are nutritious, easy to follow and, when combined with exercise, have proven results in enduring weight loss for millions of people. 

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the traditional foods of southern Spain, Italy, and Crete. Its health benefits were first published in the 1970s by American physiologist Ancel Keys, who discovered a correlation between nutrition, lifestyle, and the rate of cardiovascular disease in people around the world. Poorer populations from the southern Mediterranean were found to have far less cardiovascular disease than some wealthier populations in western societies. 

The Mediterranean cuisine focuses on a plant-based diet, including legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and the use of healthier oils like olive oil. It also limits the consumption of refined sugars, fish, poultry, cheese, yogurt, red meat, and red wine. In addition to cardiovascular benefits, several studies show the Mediterranean diet to have positive effects on:

  • Weight loss
  • Lowering risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Reduced depression

DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension)

The DASH diet was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the late 1990s with the goal of introducing a diet to help lower blood pressure. As an added benefit, it also promotes weight loss by limiting unhealthy foods and focusing on low-fat, nutritious meals. 

The DASH diet centers on:

  • Increasing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 
  • Increased fat-free foods, low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts. 
  • Limiting foods high in saturated fats like full-fat dairy, fatty meats, and coconut and palm oils. 
  • Limiting foods and beverages high in sugar. 

MIND diet (Mediterranean–DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay)

The MIND diet combines the Mediterranean and DASH diets to create an eating plan that focuses on brain health, with the goal of reducing the risk of dementia as people age.  The MIND diet includes specific food and serving recommendations:

  • Berries — especially those with known antioxidant benefits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries (at least two servings per week). 
  • Green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach (six or more servings per week).  
  • Other low starch vegetables (eat at least once a day in addition to green, leafy vegetables).
  • Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and quinoa (at least three daily servings).
  • Nuts (five or more servings per week).
  • Olive oil (use as your primary cooking oil).
  • Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, and mackerel (at least once a week). 
  • Beans, lentils, and soybeans (incorporate in at least four meals per week). 
  • Poultry, including non-fried chicken and turkey (eat at least twice a week). 
  • Wine (up to one glass per day).

Remember, sometimes the best diet is not to consider it a diet at all. Wholesome foods and lifestyle choices deliver the best chance for long-term weight loss — a resolution sure to kickstart a happy and healthy 2024!

March 04, 2024

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