How do you like the idea of a diet that lets you eat as much as you want to and still realize a healthy weight loss? A diet which doesn’t require you to keep track of calories or points?
If you like this idea read on, because not only is there such a diet, but a prestigious medical journal has just published research which demonstrates the strategy’s effectiveness.
Before telling you about it I want to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with counting points or calories as a dieting approach. It is an effective approach for a lot of people and, over the years I have been very impressed with the success of the Weight Watcher program which is firmly based in counting points.
Having said that, counting calories is not an approach which works for everyone (no approach does). So it’s always a good idea to have different weight loss strategies available so you can find the option that will work best for you.
Let’s return to the results of a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This was a large and well-designed study ($8 million in funding from the National Institute of Health) that carefully followed more than 600 people.
The researchers found that “people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods- without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes– lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.”
This result was equally true whether people followed diets that were mostly low in fat or mostly low in carbohydrates.
In other words, the research strongly supports the idea that it is diet quality, not diet quantity, which helps people lose and manage their weight most effectively in the long run.
What is unique about this weight-loss study was the fact that the researchers did not set specific or restrictive carbohydrate, fat or calorie limits on people. They told participants to eat as much as they wanted to of whole foods in order to avoid feeling hungry. As you might imagine the people in the study were relieved, as well as surprised, when they learned they did not need to focus on restricting or counting calories.
This is not to say that calories don’t matter. By the end of the study the participants ultimately ended up consuming fewer calories. The key point is that they accomplished this, not by counting calories, but by eating enough whole and nutritious foods to satisfy their hunger.
Recipe for a Successful Diet
-Unlimited fresh and whole foods
-Very small amount of added sugar
-Small pinch of processed foods
-Less refined grains
Combine these ingredients to lose weight, feel healthier and not feel hungry in the process.
If you would like additional information or support for implementing this approach to weight management (or any other approach for that matter) remember that many companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPS) that feature health coaching as part of their services to provide professional and personalized guidance on nutrition and diet.