A study recently published online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that of all the things you can do to manage your weight, doing three things seemed to have the biggest impact.
1. Keeping a food journal
2. Not skipping meals.
3. Eating out less frequently.
Lead author of the study, Anne McTierman M.D., Ph.D. commented, “When it comes to weight loss, evidence from randomized controlled trials comparing different diets finds that restricting total calories is more important than diet composition such as low fat versus low carbohydrate. Therefore, the specific aim of our study was to identify behaviors that support the goal of calorie restriction.” Those behaviors seemed to have the biggest effect on the caloric intake of the participants. Specifically, the study, based on data following 123 overweight to obese sedentary women aged 50 to 75 for one year, found that :
1. Women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not. McTierman commented that it is difficult to make changes in your diet when you are not paying attention to what you are eating.
2. Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 pounds less than those who did not. Those skipping meals tended to eat morehigh calorie foods and as a consequence consume more calories when they did eat.
3. Women who ate out for lunch lost an average of 5 pounds less than those who ate out less frequently. (Eating out often at all meal times was associated with less weight loss, but the strongest association was observed with lunch.) The authors commented that “eating in restaurants usually means less individual control over ingredients and cooking methods, as well as portion sizes.”
While not surprising, the results of the study are important because they confirm some of the basic principles we have recommended for years.