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Diet and Weight Loss Tutorial
The Low Calorie Diet
A low calorie diet can be the simplest form of dieting, nothing more than reducing the number of calories you consume. You could diet on cheesecake, and lose weight! But beware the pitfalls.
A diet based on simply eating smaller amounts of the same highly processed, calorie-rich foods typically results in hunger, poor nutrition, and only temporary weight loss. Eating tiny portions of concentrated, processed calories does not satisfy our hunger. We go off our diets and regain the weight we lost. When we do this again and again, it is harmful to both our health and our self-esteem.
Conversely, by eating foods that are higher in nutrients and fiber and lower in calories, we become satisfied eating fewer calories. We can lose weight even though we are eating more food.
Counting Calories Alone
The caloric value of any diet is the single most important factor for weight loss. The problem with counting calories alone, however, is that while it doesn't eliminate any particular foods, it also doesn't ensure that you are eating a healthy diet.
This is why our food calculator provides data on the three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It also provides data on fiber to help ensure that you get enough; and on sodium to help ensure that you don't get too much.
The three macronutrients provide most of the calories found in foods. Later in the tutorial you will learn how many calories each macronutrient provides, as well as how to balance them to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet.
Heavily processed foods containing a lot of sugar and other ingredients of little nutritional value are said to contain "empty calories." Because they have little nutritional value, and little if any fiber, they don't keep your metabolism on an even keel like healthy foods do. Thus 500 calories of junk food does not have the same effect on weight loss as 500 calories of healthy food.
In truth, it isn't very likely that you could be successful dieting on cheesecake. Your mom was right when she told you to eat your vegetables; eating healthy foods is the best way to lose weight.
Diet and Weight Loss Tutorial
The Low Fat Diet
The low fat diet became a fad because it was supposed to be good for both your waistline and your health. There is truth to this. However, as we write about the low calorie diet, beware the pitfalls.
Consider these points:
It's easy to see why a low fat diet is good for weight loss. A little less fat means a lot less calories. Plus the fact that most people eat far more fat than is good for their waistline or their health.
But the problem with counting fat intake alone is that while it doesn't eliminate any particular foods, it also doesn't ensure that you are eating a healthy diet. Or even a low calorie diet.
The low fat diet fad filled supermarket shelves with low fat and fat-free products, and you still find many on the shelves today. We are not suggesting that these products are not better for you than their full-fat counterparts, but you need to be careful
Many fat-free products have been filled with sugar (and salt) to replace the flavor that was lost when the fat was removed. Whatever you're eating, the formula stays the same: Consume more calories than you burn and you will gain weight. So simply counting fat intake won't do the job.
While you should limit foods high in saturated fat, fat is necessary to maintain a healthy body. Many people eat too much of the bad fats, but also eat too little of the good fats required for optimal health. So your health is another reason why simply counting fat intake won't do the job.
You will learn more about the different types of fat and which are better for you in Good Fats and Bad Fats.
Many people jumped on the fat-free bandwagon thinking they could eat all the fat-free food they wanted. They gained weight, and their health suffered, too.
Eating less fat would probably be good for most people. But to lose weight, sustain weight loss, and be healthy, you must also be careful about the quality of the food you eat.