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Plant-based, Keto, Whole30: What All Those Trendy Diets Mean

Plant-based, Keto, Whole30: What All Those Trendy Diets Mean



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Are these fad diets effective or extreme?

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Many fad diets have come and gone through the years. And others have been renounced as unhealthy or even dangerous by professionals once they hit the mainstream. These 20 trendy diets are currently all the rage, but what do they entail? And more importantly, are they safe and effective? Here’s the scoop on keto, Whole30, the Mediterranean diet and more.

Intermittent fasting (IF)

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Rather than a traditional diet, Intermittent fasting (IF) is more of an eating pattern that regulates periods of fasting and eating in order to lose weight. There are multiple IF schedules people can prescribe to. One of the more popular dictates daily 16-hour fasts with eating restricted to eight hours during the day, such as noon to 8 p.m. Another method is called 5:2 and requires fasting two days out of the week with very little calorie intake on fast days. Though intermittent fasting is more restrictive in nature and doesn’t work for people with certain health issues like diabetes, early studies indicate that it can be effective for weight loss and can cause less loss of muscle mass than calorie-restrictive diets.

Plant-based

iStock.com/miodrag ignjatovic

“Plant-based” is a newer diet term that refers to eating minimally processed (“whole”) foods mostly or entirely derived from plants. This means limited dairy and meat consumption and no refined foods like white flour or added sugar. Instead, your diet consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. While it is similar to vegan and vegetarian diets, it does allow some animal products. Studies have shown healthy plant-based diets can lower your risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, eating less meat can also reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain cancers and obesity.

Keto

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One of the biggest food trends of the 2010s was the emergence of the keto diet, which is short for ketogenic. The goal of this diet is to put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis by drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. Once in ketosis, your body will burn fat rather than glucose for energy, leading to weight loss. On the keto diet, you cannot consume any grains, sugar, beans, legumes or most fruit, instead focusing on meat, eggs, dairy and green vegetables. Studies have shown the keto diet can be effective for weight loss as well as managing glucose levels for those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. It does have some drawbacks, however, including potential digestive issues and fatigue known as the “keto flu.”

Whole30

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Developed in 2009 by two certified sports nutritionists, the Whole30 diet encourages followers to only eat “whole” or minimally processed foods for 30 days. This means no alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, dairy or additives. After the 30 days, you can slowly introduce eliminated foods back into your diet. The goal of the diet is to help reset your eating habits and metabolism, though many also adopt it to try to lose weight.

Paleo

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Paleo is short for Paleolithic diet because it’s based around the foods that would’ve been available to humans during the Paleolithic era, which was about 10,000 to 2 million years ago. That means no beans. potatoes, processed foods, dairy, refined sugar, grains, refined vegetable oils or salt. There was no farming, ranching or domesticated animals yet, so the only meat you can have is grass-fed meat, fish and seafood. The paleo diet does include eggs, nuts, fresh vegetables and fruit and nuts and seeds. Clinical trials have suggested the diet could help with weight loss and controlling blood pressure, but many of its health benefits are still unproven, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Paleo-Vegan

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The “pegan” diet combines the restrictions of the paleo diet with a vegan diet, which doesn’t include any meat or animal products. However, the pegan diet, developed by Dr. Mark Hyman, does allow small to moderate amounts of meat and certain fish, making it a bit more flexible than a paleo or vegan diet on its own. However, 75% of intake on this diet is supposed to be vegetables and fruit.

Flexitarian

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This trendy portmanteau name is simply a combination of “flexible” and “vegetarian.” Flexitarian has arisen as a more approachable diet option for those unable to go fully vegetarian or vegan. Flexitarians will occasionally enjoy a meat dish but the bulk of their diet will be based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. There is an official "Flexitarian Diet" book and recipes that can help you feel full on fewer calories. Or you can simply commit to diet and lifestyle changes involving more exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables that can benefit your overall health. The “flexible” part of Flexitarian means this diet can be built for you.

Mediterranean

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The Mediterranean diet is based on the foods eaten in countries like Italy and Greece, which border the Mediterranean Sea. This balanced diet focuses on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds with a big emphasis on extra virgin olive oil. Consumption of meat, refined sugar and flour are reduced compared to traditional Western diets. This diet is promoted by reputable organizations as a way to lose weight and prevent chronic health issues like cardiovascular disease. The Mediterranean diet is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization and was named the best diet of 2019 by U.S. News and World Report.

DASH

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DASH is an acronym that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and this diet is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. DASH reduces hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, by boosting your intake of nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber and reducing sodium intake. To achieve this, the diet encourages changes like adding one serving of fruits or vegetables per meal, switching from white to whole wheat flour and making two or more meals each week meat-free.

MIND

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Another acronym diet, MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. As its name suggests, MIND combines aspects of both the Mediterranean and DASH diets in order to prevent dementia and loss of brain function as you age. This diet doesn’t have specific recipes or a program but calls for a reduction in five foods: butter and margarine, cheese, red meat, fried foods, and pastries and sweets. Instead, it recommends consuming more vegetables, berries, beans, whole grains, olive oil, fish, poultry and wine.

Snake diet

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The Snake diet takes fasting to an extreme level by recommending fasting for up to three days at a time. During that period, you’re only supposed to drink a concoction called “snake juice” made of water, salt, potassium chloride, baking soda and magnesium sulfate salts. While this diet will likely lead to weight loss due to lack of eating, it will harm your immune system, metabolism and other normal bodily functions, according to the experts. It could also lead to disordered eating patterns and relationships with food and is not recommended by health professionals.

Juice cleanses

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Despite objections from health professionals, juice cleanses and juicing are still popular diet trends. In a juice cleanse, people typically only drink fruit and vegetable juices for three to 10 days. Removing solids from your diet negatively impacts digestion and can actually slow down your metabolism. Juice cleanses can provide short-term results but they’re not a healthy long-term solution for weight loss or overall wellness.

Mayo Clinic diet

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Developed by the medical nonprofit the Mayo Clinic, this diet is based on the clinic’s recommended food pyramid as well as healthy lifestyle advice, like being engaged in physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. The diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains, while reducing consumption of fats and sweets. Buying the book or joining Mayo Clinic’s online program is the only way to access all the diet’s restrictions, recipes and tools.

Raw diet

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The raw diet lives up to its name by including fruits, vegetables and grains that have not been cooked or heated over 104–118 degrees F. They should also not be processed, refined, pasteurized or treated with pesticides. Instead, food can be prepared by juicing, blending, soaking, dehydrating and other methods. The idea behind this diet is that cooking food destroys its nutrients, which is not based in science. Strictly following this diet would also be deficient in many necessary nutrients.

Nordic diet

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Perhaps instead of being more healthy like someone from the Mediterranean, you want to take your cues from farther north. The Nordic diet is based around foods commonly eaten by people in Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). It emphasizes high-quality meat and organic, local produce as well as paying attention to your carb-protein ratio in meals. The diet was developed by nutritional scientists based at Denmark’s University of Copenhagen and one of the co-founders of the famous Danish restaurant Noma.

No-carb diet

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Plenty of low-carb fad diets such as Atkins, South Beach and keto have cropped up over the years, but the modern extreme version of these plans is the “no-carb” or “zero-carb” diet. Someone on a no-carb diet must eat foods that contain primarily protein or fat, such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, oils and butter while cutting out breads, grains, starchy vegetables and fruit, milk, beans, nuts and seeds. While reducing your carb intake can result in weight loss, completely eliminating carbs from your diet is unnecessary for losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight and preventing diseases and could remove vital nutrients from your diet.

Macrobiotic diet

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A diet dating back to the 1960s that’s had a recent resurgence, the macrobiotic diet focuses on natural, organic food and eliminating chemicals and artificial ingredients in order to put you in harmony with the world around you. The macrobiotic diet is largely plant-based, low-fat and high-fiber, which can help lower the risk of heart disease and some kinds of cancer. More intense practitioners of this diet cook without microwave ovens or electricity and eliminate plastic from their kitchens, but less zealous people can still reap some potential health benefits from this diet.

Volumetrics diet

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As suggested by its name, the Volumetrics diet is based on the volume. It was developed by Dr. Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutrition and head of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University, and is backed up by research and studies. The idea behind it is that “energy-dense” foods will help you feel more full while eating less. Foods are split into four categories, with Category 1’s “anytime” foods including non-starchy fruits and vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes, nonfat milk and broth-based soup. Category 2 is reasonable portion foods including lean proteins, whole grains and legumes. Category 3 is small portion foods like bread and cheese and Category 4 is food to be eaten sparingly like sweets and fried foods. The diet has an official book with recipes, but Volumetrics is also a helpful philosophy that can be applied less strictly. ​​​​​​

Ornish diet

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Created in 1977 by Dr. Dean Ornish, the Ornish diet is low in fat, refined carbohydrates and animal protein. Like the Volumetrics diet, it groups foods into five categories, but it also emphasizes exercise, stress management and social support and integral aspects of health and happiness. Though the diet is low in healthy fats, it has been shown in studies to improve heart health and help reverse heart disease. In fact, Medicare and many private health insurance plans cover Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease, an intensive lifestyle intervention program for patients with heart disease.

Anti-inflammatory diet

iStock.com/Marilyn Nieves


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.


What to Steal From Keto, Paleo and Other Trendy Diets

by Jennifer King Lindley, AARP, December 18, 2020 | Comments: 0

En español | With your best friend raving about paleo and your daughter eating raw foods, you might be feeling like a slouch for not jumping on the latest diet trend yourself.

But you shouldn't. Rigid regimes and complete diet overhauls can be especially tough to stick to, says Kristen Smith, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says weight loss success comes from focusing on “lifestyle changes that work for you and you can maintain for the long haul.”

That doesn't mean there isn't anything of value in most popular diets. Even if you aren't about to go full-throttle keto, our experts say you can find some valuable à la carte wisdom on the following five weight loss plans. What follows are the helpful takeaways from each.

The first high-fat, very-low-carb diet regimen was developed more than a century ago to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. While there are several variations on today's keto, generally, a heaping 70 to 80 percent of your daily calories will come from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and a scant 5 to 10 percent from carbs. On the keto menu: meats, dairy, nuts, avocados, cheese, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. You avoid bread, cereals, pasta, legumes and most fruits. (Fats are valued so much that some keto followers even swirl butter into their morning coffee.)

Any diet that stars bacon would seem a dubious road to weight loss. But there is solid science behind it. If you deprive the body of carbs to make glucose, it starts burning your stored fat as its energy source, a process called ketosis. (You can't have “cheat days” or you will stop this process.) Fat is also very filling: Eating keto can suppress your appetite and reduce cravings so you may take in fewer calories, says Samantha Cassetty, a registered dietitian in New York City and coauthor of Sugar Shock.

Does it work? Some research has found that going keto can help you drop pounds if you can stick with it. A 2020 study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, for example, found that participants (34 men and women ages 60 to 75) in an eight-week trial lost an average of nearly 15 pounds. There's not yet a lot of research into keto's longer-term benefits for weight loss, however.

The downside: Leaving out fruit and whole grains can result in constipation and nutrient deficiencies, so supplementation might be necessary. Eating this way can be hard to sustain — when you go back to eating your ordinary crackers and pasta, you may gain the weight back. And consuming too much meat may increase your cholesterol levels over time. “We don't know the cardiac consequences of following this diet long term,” says Smith. In the short term, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and headaches as your body adjusts.

What to steal: Fat is not the enemy. The low-fat diet craze that started in the ‘80s may have scared dieters away from all fats. But not all fats are bad fats. “Eating moderate portions of healthy fats can help you lose weight. Unsaturated fats like olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness,” says Cassetty, adding that these foods also add flavor or texture that improves the appeal of the nutritious foods like veggies they're often paired with.

Paleo

Also known as the Stone Age diet, this approach asks you to eat like a supposed long-ago hunter-gatherer ancestor: If it wasn't served up around the cave fire after a long day of fishing, hunting or foraging, it's off limits. You eat fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid processed foods, grains, dairy and legumes, and added sugar and salt. Proponents say that our bodies evolved to eat only foods available to early humans and that sticking to those can help fend off such modern-day scourges as heart disease, diabetes and cancer while helping you lose weight.

Does it work? Small short-term studies have shown that paleo can help you drop pounds and reduce your waist circumference. Like keto, the long-term weight loss benefits require more research, Smith says.

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The downside: This diet excludes beans, chickpeas and other legumes because they are cultivated rather than foraged. “But this category is full of nutrients like magnesium and folate, and are some of the healthiest foods on the planet,” Cassetty says. Plus, in the modern world, it may be difficult to stick with the diet's restrictions.

What to steal: Eat real foods. The standard American diet today is filled with ultra-processed foods and processed ingredients our forebears wouldn't recognize. Limiting these categories as paleo does is a smart idea. Filling up on those caveperson faves — high-fiber, low-cal fruits and vegetables — can help keep pounds off.

16/8 intermittent fasting

With the 16/8 diet, you eat all your daily calories during an eight-hour window, then abstain completely the other 16. You might finish dinner by 8 p.m., say, then fast until lunch the next day. (Noncaloric beverages like coffee and water are OK.) By limiting the amount of time you eat every day, you may naturally take in fewer daily calories, Smith says. Fasting can kick your body into burning stored fat and provide other metabolic benefits that may boost longevity.

Does it work? To date, most of the research into fasting for weight loss has been done with animals. In humans, the evidence is mixed: One 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found following a 16/8 regimen for three months decreased body weight by about 3 percent. But a 2020 human study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed little weight loss benefit: Overweight adults assigned to fast for 16 hours a day for three months lost only two or three pounds — much of it healthy muscle mass, not body fat.

The downsides: Not eating for long periods takes lots of willpower and can be hard to stick with over the long haul. “Fasting can foster an unhealthy attitude toward food. You are not learning to listen to your natural hunger cues, which is important for maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” Smith says. Fasting is not safe for people with prediabetes, diabetes or a history of disordered eating, she adds.

What to steal: Don't nosh around the clock. Deciding the kitchen is closed after dinner can prevent mindless midnight munching. “Giving yourself a natural 12-hour break allows your body to get into healing and maintenance mode while you sleep instead of putting energy into digesting,” Cassetty says.

Whole30

Whole30 is a one-month dietary reboot. For 30 days, you eat only a limited menu of whole foods — meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and veggies, and natural fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds. You can't have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or junk foods, which, the thinking goes, may be triggering inflammation and allergies. This cold-turkey approach is designed to help you break your cravings and bad food habits, and begin with a clean slate. In the process, you may lose some pounds as well. After the 30 days, you slowly reintroduce the excluded foods to your diet and see how each makes you feel.

Does it work? Personal testimonials abound on Instagram and elsewhere. “But I don't know of any scientific research behind this diet. It wasn't created by a credentialed expert,” Cassetty says.

The downsides: “It is very restrictive,” says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in the New York City area and owner of Plant-Based Eats. “If you slip up and eat a bite of pizza, you have to start over. This type of unforgiving mentality doesn't work well with making lasting lifestyle changes.” You may risk nutritional deficiencies if you follow it longer than a month: “I don't recommend doing so,” Gorin says.

What to steal: Be more mindful. Though this scorched-earth approach may be extreme, experts say it can be useful to experiment with cutting back on potentially problematic categories like refined sugar or alcohol consumption. Do you sleep better or have more energy? “It can be helpful to examine eating habits you do mindlessly,” Cassetty says.

Weight Loss — in a Pill?

Coming soon: More safe, effective weight loss medications

It's no secret: The average American is getting bigger. Some 42 percent of adults now meet the definition of obesity, with a body mass index of 30 or above. Guilt and willpower haven't worked to solve this epidemic. “Obesity is a complex process,” says Marcio Griebeler, M.D., director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center at Cleveland Clinic's Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute. “We need to view it as a chronic disease and treat it as such.” One promising approach? Better, safer weight loss medications.

A few prescription medications already are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss, including Qsymia and Contrave. Doctors prescribe them for those whose health is at the greatest risk because of their weight: those with a BMI over 30, or over 27 if they have other health issues such as high blood pressure. (You won't get an Rx if you just want to lose five pounds for your reunion.) These medications work on the “brain-gut connection,” Griebeler says. They reduce your appetite, quell cravings, or slow digestion so you feel fuller longer. “Along with lifestyle changes, they can be effective at jump-starting weight loss.”

Unlike earlier diet drugs that proved dangerous, such as fen-phen (fenfluramine and phentermine), these medications have been found to be generally safe in the long term under medical supervision. But results are “very individual,” Griebeler notes. Patients typically lose around 5 percent of their body weight after three months, which can be enough to make a significant difference in health.

Just released this year is a new prescription product named Plenity, a pill filled with cellulose and citric acid. The FDA has labeled it a “device” rather than a medication because it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed in your bloodstream. You take it before eating and the contents expand. “Your stomach has less space for food, so you eat less,” Griebeler explains.

Griebeler says he's “very optimistic” about the potential for several other promising medications expected to hit the market in the next five years. “Some of these are combinations of existing drugs, others are based on diabetes drugs,” he says. You can't get an Rx yet, but you can find an obesity specialist who will be knowledgeable about all treatment options as they arrive.