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The only ways to lose weight (without surgery or prescription medications) are:

  1. Take in fewer calories,
  2. Burn more calories, or
  3. both.
Some day we may understand how to change the bacteria in your gut to alter the amount of energy (calories) you get from the food you eat, but that day is not here yet.  Meanwhile, all of the popular diet books, regardless of the "scientific" explanations they give, recommend menus that give you 1500-1800 calories or less per day, and for most people this means you will be taking in fewer calories. You can lose weight on any low-calorie diet, but ask yourself: Is this a way of eating I can follow for the rest of my life? (If not, you will regain the weight as soon as you go back to your old eating habits.) And, do the foods they tell me to eat supply all the nutrients my body needs? Most people can eliminate whole food groups for a short time without any harm, but eventually you will create deficiencies if you do not eat a wide variety of foods, with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds. Don't believe that you can make up for what's missing with pills: a lousy diet with supplements is a lousy diet.

The sensible way to lose weight is to eliminate the foods with little or no nutritional value beyond the concentrated calories they contain: refined carbohydrates and added fats. The guidelines for diabetics apply for anyone who needs to lose weight, particularly if you store most of your weight in your belly. Avoid foods that raise insulin to high levels such as bakery products, pasta, and foods with added sugars. You should eat enough whole grains, beans, and vegetables to keep you full and satisfied. Eat root vegetables and fruits only with other foods.

The Fitness section of has lots of ideas to help you start and maintain an exercise program. Research on weight loss and healthful eating is reported in the Nutrition section. I recommend Intermittent Fasting.

When one person in a household needs to lose weight, the whole family should cooperate. Foods made with refined carbohydrates and added fats should be kept out of the house. Everyone will benefit from eating more vegetables, whole grains and beans.






— Eat fruits and root vegetables only with meals.

— Avoid bread and other foods made from
flour or ground-up grains as much as possible

– use whole grains instead.

— Limit serving sizes.


July 30th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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