Dietary Changes


Lt Col Reynolds
Changing dietary habits to control portions and eliminate high-calorie foods is a necessary part of losing weight and restoring energy balance. Dr. Patel, can you give us some tips on healthy eating habits?

Dr. Patel
The goal of any weight loss diet is to achieve a calorie deficit, which means eating fewer calories. There are several nutritionally balanced diets that can produce a calorie deficit and have proven effective in weight loss programs, including low-carbohydrate diets, low-fat diets, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet. However, the specific diet is less important than paying attention to overall calorie intake.

Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets can produce better weight loss results than other diets in the first six months, but beyond a year produce similar results to other diets. Fat makes up 55 to 65 percent of total calories in this diet, protein makes up 25 to 30 percent, carbohydrates should be less than 20 percent.

A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet can also be effective for weight loss. In this diet, fat makes up 11 to 19 percent of total calories. Ten to 20 percent comes from protein. Complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, make up more than 65 percent of total calories.

The DASH diet is a heart healthy diet that can help with weight loss. It features eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. It’s a diet rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. The DASH diet limits intake of sodium, sweets, sugary beverages, and red meats, and avoids saturated and trans fats. Complex carbohydrates make up 55 percent of total calories. Fat makes up 27 percent, and 18 percent of total calories comes from protein.

It’s important to discuss diet options with your healthcare provider. An individual’s metabolism and other medical conditions should be taken into account when choosing a diet. It’s also important to consider how easy or difficult it will be to adhere to a specific diet for the long term.