Information, Diet Suggestions, and Resources

what is Obesity?

Obesity is a condition where the individual has excessive body fat. It is defined using Body Mass Index (BMI), a measurement of relative size based on body height and mass. Obesity is considered when there is a BMI of ≥30 while people are considered overweight when BMI is between 25.0 to 29.9. People are considered normal weight if the BMI is ≥18.5 to 24.9. You can calculate your BMI  using simple online calculators or inexpensive applications on your smart phone.

Obesity increases an individual’s risk for many important chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, sleep apnea, hypertension, stroke, dyslipidemia, cancers including colon cancer, osteoarthritis, liver disease, and gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux) disease. Preventing obesity, especially in children is extremely important. Diet, weight loss, and exercise are essential for obesity prevention.

The Diets

In general, individuals who are obese should follow a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy sources of fats. Avoid large portions of foods with added fats and simple carbohydrates, such as white pasta, rice, cereals and added sugars. Women should aim for less than 25g of added sugar per day and men should include less than 40g added sugar per day  in their diet.

Once a person is obese or overweight, there are many diets that have been used  for weight loss with variable success. One of the most important aspects of a weight loss diet is support for the diet either with peers or with medical professionals. It is very hard to lose weight and even harder to keep it off. The following diet plans are among those commonly used for weight loss; Weight Watchers, Ornish diet, South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, Zone diet, LEARN diet.

Weight Watchers

Weight watchers stresses limited calories and regulated portion sizes, allowing for variety in food and support from a dieting community. It emphasizes a lifestyle of healthy food choices with exercise.

Ornish Diet

This is a high- fiber vegetarian diet that includes no more than 10 percent of calories from fat. On this diet, getting enough protein requires vigilance.

South Beach Diet

This diet is high in protein, low in saturated fat and low in carbohydrates, with a high glycemic load. Lean meats, low glycemic index vegetables, low-fat cheese, nuts and eggs are allowed.

Atkins Diet

This diet is a very low carbohydrate diet allowing twenty grams per day or less of carbohydrates in the initial phase of the diet and fifty grams per day or less of carbohydrates for ongoing weight loss. As a result of a decrease in the proportion of daily calories due to carbohydrates, this is a high fat, high protein diet. As a result, the Atkins Diet has an increased risk of stress on the kidneys and liver.

Zone Diet

The Zone diet is a diet consisting of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30%  fat. Weight loss on this diet is associated with a decrease in the ratio of bad cholesterol (LDL) to good cholesterol (HDL), a good thing.

Learn Diet

This is a low-fat, moderately high-carbohydrate diet. Between 55-60% of the calories in this diet are allowed to come from carbohydrates, and fewer than 10% of calories can come from saturated fat. Calorie restriction, exercise and behavioral modification are important with the Learn Diet.