There is no single regimen for weight reduction; it has to be individualized. Weight reduction should be gradual. Fat loss diet plans should not be less than 1000 Kcal/day and provide all nutrients. A reduction of half a kilogram body weight per week is considered to be safe. Extreme approaches should be avoided and use of drugs may be dangerous. In children, obesity should be controlled by increasing physical activity rather than restricting food intake. Modifications in dietary habits have to be incorporated into one’s lifestyle along with adequate exercise to keep the body weight within the normal limits.
As fat contains more than twice the calories (9Kcal) per gram compared to protein (4Kcal) and carbohydrate (4Kcal), weight reducing diets should limit the fat intake.
Plant foods that provide complex carbohydrates and fibre may be preferred as they reduce blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Weight- reducing diets must be rich in proteins and low in carbohydrates and fats. Consumption of plenty of fruits and vegetables would not only result in satiety but could also help to maintain adequate micronutrient intake & is a healthy way to lose weight. Frequent fasting/ semi-fasting (cyclic weight reduction) followed by adequate or excess food consumption will also aggravate the problem of weight gain. All reducing regimens should be monitored by a doctor and a dietitian.
WEIGHT LOSS TIPS
- Slow and steady reduction in body weight is advisable. Severe fasting may lead to health hazards.
- Achieve energy balance and appropriate weight for height. Encourage regular physical activity.
- Eat small meals regularly at frequent intervals.
- Cut down sugar, salt, fatty foods, refined foods, soft drinks and alcohol.
- Eat complex carbohydrates, low glycemic foods and fibre rich diets.
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
- Limit fat intake and shift from saturated to unsaturated fats. Avoid trans-fatty rich foods (vanaspati, bakery products and sweets). Use low- fat milk.