“Knowing what you eat and controlling the portion sizes is key to any weight-loss diet,” says Anne McTiernan, M.D., the senior author of the study and a diet and exercise specialist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle.
Strategies such as food journals are “about accountability,” McTiernan adds.
Other behaviors in the study that appeared to boost weight loss included consuming fewer calories from fat and carbohydrates and weighing and measuring food portions.
None of these findings was especially surprising. Doctors and dietitians have long touted the benefits of regular meals, food journals, and home cooking, but the new study is among the first to look at a wide range of weight-loss strategies and quantify which ones are most effective, McTiernan says.
Why does skipping meals backfire? It’s not entirely clear, but research suggests missed meals can lead to snacking and overeating, and may even change the body’s metabolism so that calories aren’t used as efficiently. Skipping meals also may go hand in hand with other behaviors that can promote weight gain, such as eating on the go.
Although the three healthful habits highlighted in the study might seem straightforward, they may prove harder to follow in the real world than in the somewhat artificial setting of a clinical trial.
The women in this study were all part of a larger trial looking at the effect ofhttp://surewellnesssystems.com/wp-admin/post-new.php diet and exercise on hormones, and they received weight-loss guidance not always available to women struggling with weight issues on their own. This included meeting with a registered dietician and exercise physiologist and also learning how to read labels and count calories.
As it was, less than 5% of the study participants completed a food journal entry every day for the first six months of the study, as the researchers had asked.
The study findings were published today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Article from Health.com.