Ask A Doc : Dr. Jennifer Sandy, Bariatrician and Medical Director for Medical Weight Loss at NOCHS Bariatric Clinic

There are so many articles about the best way to lose weight.  What is the best diet?

 It’s easy to get caught up in the newest diet craze but it’s important to remember that losing weight is just the beginning. For many, it can be harder to keep the weight off. Several recent studies have supported that weight loss differences between low fat and low carb diets are relatively small. However, low carb and low glycemic index diets were better than low fat diets at keeping your metabolism higher after weight loss.

In our practice, we find that people are less hungry when they are getting adequate protein and fiber in their diets. Plus, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is important in overall wellness and disease prevention. However, many people are not likely to continue a diet that eliminates an entire food group long term. Thus, the best diet is one that you can continue long term to maintain your weight loss. Focus on creating a nutritional balance with proteins, vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains. Keeping a food log can also be helpful for awareness and planning the calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat content you eat. We recommend that you eat every 3-5 hours throughout the day. When you skip meals and go long periods without eating, not only do most people get so hungry that they make poor choices, but our bodies also react by slowing metabolism, making weight loss even more elusive.

A lot of foods are labeled low fat or high protein.  Does this mean they are good choices?

A word of caution when looking at food marketing: look at the nutrition label not the packaging. Often foods are marketed to try to make them appear to be a healthy choice, when in reality foods labeled “low fat” or “high protein” may be that, but also contain significant sugar, sodium, or unnecessary carbs. Next time you are in the grocery store, check how many boxes of gummy candy and licorice are labeled low fat and how many “protein” bars have more than 20 grams of sugar (nearly half of the recommended limit of sugar for the entire day).

We will all have some help with sorting natural sugars and added sugars with some food label changes in 2018. Until then, looking at the ingredient list can help.

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