Weight management

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Nutrition is an important part of maintaining a healthy body weight.

Weight management techniques encompass long-term lifestyle strategies that promote healthy eating and daily physical activity.[1] Effective weight management strategies consider not only weight loss toward but also the maintenance of a healthy body weight over time. Moreover, weight management involves an understanding of meaningful ways to track weight over time and set ideal body weights for different individuals.[2]

Weight management does not include fad diets that promote quick, temporary weight loss. It focuses on the long-term results that are achieved through slow weight loss, followed by retention of an ideal body weight for age, sex and height.

Rising obesity rates are a major concern in North America. About 60% of Canadians are overweight or obese.[3] Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.[4] Managing one’s weight is one factor in preventing such chronic diseases.



Increase protein intake, especially at breakfast[edit]

The satiating property of dietary protein is influenced by the time of protein consumption. Studies have shown that protein intake at breakfast has a greater satiety effect than later meal times.[5] There are several explanations as to why this is the case. Firstly, protein has a greater thermogenic effect than carbohydrates and fat, which enables the body to burn more calories.[6] Secondly, a high protein breakfast appears to slow gastric emptying, which attributes to the fact that protein appears to be the most satiating macronutrient.[7] Finally, a high protein breakfast increases the activity of glucagon,[7] which activates the pathways for glucose synthesis. One study showed that fat loss was approximately twice as much in the high-protein diet group than the moderate-protein diet group in overweight and obese individuals.[6]

Plate size[edit]

Using smaller plates helps to consume smaller portion sizes and this leads to the consumption of fewer calories.[8] Studies have shown that portion size influences energy intake.[9] People who are presented with larger portions do not report to have a higher level of satiety, which suggests that hunger and satiety signals are ignored when a large portion of food is placed in front of them.[9] In particular, one study showed that participants consumed 31% less calories with the small portion sized of a 6-inch submarine sandwich compared with the large portion size of a 12-inch submarine sandwich.[9] Increased portion sizes have occurred simultaneously with the increase in obesity rates; hence, large portion sizes can be one of the factors contributing to the current increase in body weight of the US.[9] Evidence from a systematic review of 72 randomized controlled trials indicates that people consistently eat more food when offered larger portion, package, or tableware sizes rather than smaller size alternatives.[10]

Eat more soup[edit]

Soups have a significant satiety effect. Studies have demonstrated that compared to solid foods, soup ingestion decreases the amount of energy intake.[11] Compared to having no soup, it has been shown that eating soup reduces total energy intake of a meal.[12] When soup is consumed before a meal, a decrease of 20% of energy is consumed in the meal.[12]

Choose low-calorie foods[edit]

A moderate decrease in caloric intake will lead to a slow weight loss, which may be more beneficial for long term weight management.[13] For example, choosing a black coffee instead of a full fat latte will save calories that will add up in the long run. Low fat meats reduce the total amount of calories and cholesterol consumed.[14] For example, traditional beef patties have 19.2% fat and 272 kcal per 100 g of meat. On the other hand, lean beef patties have 9.8%fat and 196 kcal.[14]

Eating more dairy can aid in fat loss[edit]

Studies have shown that a diet high in dairy decreases total body fat.[15] This occurs because a high amount of dietary calcium increases the amount of energy and fat excreted from the body.[16] Studies have shown that saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats all have a higher excretion rate with a high calcium intake.[17] In these studies, a high calcium intake is considered 2300 mg and a low calcium intake is considered 700 mg.[17] A possible explanation to this phenomenon is that high intakes of calcium cause calcium soap formation and/ or binding of bile acids in the intestine.[17] Other studies specifically show that dairy sources of calcium demonstrate greater weight loss than supplemental calcium intake.[18] This may be due to the other bioactive components present in milk, which may aid in metabolic efficiency and fat loss.[18]

Incorporating more vegetables into meals[edit]

Fruits and vegetables have been shown to increase satiety and decrease hunger.[19] These foods have a low energy density, which is mainly due to the high water content and partly due to the fiber content.[19] The reduction of energy density has been shown to enhance satiety. The water adds weight, without adding calories and the fiber slows gastric emptying. Both of these factors contribute to the satiating effect of vegetables and fruits. Studies have also shown that fiber decreases hunger and also decreases total energy intake.[19]


Dietary fiber has been suggested to aid weight management by inducing satiety, decreasing absorption of macronutrients and promoting secretion of gut hormones.[20] Dietary fiber consists of non-digestible carbohydrates and lignin, which are a structural component in plants.[21] Fiber recommendations range from 10 – 13 grams/1000 calories, with slightly higher recommendations for men.[22]

Due to the high volume or water content of fiber-rich foods, fiber displaces available calories and nutrients from the diet.[23] Consumption of viscous fibers delays gastric emptying, which may cause an extended feeling of fullness.[24] Satiety is also induced by increasing chewing, which limits food intake by promoting the secretion of saliva and gastric juice, resulting in an expansion of the stomach.[25] In addition, hormone secretion is affected during fiber ingestion.[26] Insulin response is reduced and cholecystokinin (CCK) in the small intestine is increased.[20] Insulin regulates blood glucose levels while CCK adjusts gastric emptying, pancreatic secretion and gall bladder contraction.[20] There is direct correlation between CCK and satiety after foods of different fiber contents are consumed.[27] Fiber may have the added benefit of helping consumers decrease food intake throughout the day. However, results of trials examining this possibility have been conflicting. In general, large intakes of dietary fiber at breakfast are associated with less food intake at a lunch.[28]

Resistant starch[edit]

Resistant starch is a type of non-digestible, fermentable fiber that is resistant to amylase digestion in the small intestine, and is broken down to short-chain fatty acids by microflora in the large intestine. It is commonly found in cooked and cooled potatoes, green bananas, beans and legumes.[29] Resistant starch dilutes energy density of food intake, has a bulking effect similar to non-fermentable fiber, and increases the expression of PYY and GLP-1 in the gut.[29][30][31][32] The increase in gut hormones can affect long-term energy balance by affecting neuronal pathways in the brain[33][34] as well as improved overall health of the intestines.[35] Based on developing research, consumption of resistant starch can be an effective means of weight management.


Clinical research on capsaicin has showed that consumption of the spice during breakfast can increase energy expenditure by 23% immediately after meal ingestion.[36] Capsaicin, also known as hot pepper, is a primary ingredient in chilli peppers and red hot peppers.[37] Hot peppers have been reported to induce thermogenesis at the cellular level.[38][39]

As well, capsaicin induces satiety as a result of oral and gastro-intestinal contribution.[37] Lower energy and fat intake were observed under short-term conditions; however, the effect of the spice was reduced over prolonged exposure. Increased satiety was observed when oral contribution of capsaicin was measured in addition to the gastro-intestinal exposure, indicating the sensory effect of hot peppers plays a significant role.[37]


Caffeine and black coffee have been associated with increased energy expenditure and subsequent weight loss.[40] Caffeine belongs to a class of compounds called methylxanthines, and is present in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate and some cola drinks.[41] Caffeine induces a thermogenic effect in the body by increasing sympathetic nervous system activity, which is an important regulator of energy expenditure.[42][43][44]

Green tea[edit]

Green tea has been associated with decreasing blood glucose,[45] inhibiting hepatic and body fat accumulation,[46][47] and stimulating thermogenesis[48] due to the catechins that are present. Catechins are polyphenols that are a major component of green tea extract.[49] Green tea has also been shown to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans, independent of the caffeine content(.[48][50] In a human study conducted, 690 mg of catechins daily for 12 weeks reduced body fat, suggesting that green tea might be useful in the prevention of chronic disease, particularly obesity.[51] Moreover, catechins in the brain play a major role in satiety.[51][52]

Popular diets[edit]

When assessing popular diets, a person’s food preferences, lifestyle and medical conditions should be taken into account when choosing the correct diet. Adherence level to the diet is a bigger determinant of clinical benefits over the diet type itself.[53] “Dieting” needs to be a lifestyle change rather than for a short term amount of time.

Weight Watchers[edit]

Weight Watchers offers a variety of dieting products and services to assist weight loss and maintenance by a calorie restricting method. Weight watchers promote healthy habits, a supportive environment, exercise and healthy food choices.[54] A member to selects a goal weight that will result in a body mass index (BMI) generally accepted as healthy (18 – 24.9).[54] Participants are encouraged to produce a rate of weight loss up to 2 pounds per week.[54] Their food guide promotes food choices that not only reduce calories, but also meet nutritional recommendations.[54] Exercise is also recommended for weight loss and is incorporated into their points system. They use a point system that incorporates calories, fat, and dietary fiber content of each food. People are given a certain number of points they are supposed to consume each day.[54]


  • Their food guide promotes food choices that reduce calories, and also meet nutritional recommendations.
  • They construct an activity plan along with nutritional guidelines to encourage exercise.
  • They offer support and encouragement through weekly meetings
  • Is a slower weight loss than other more restrictive diets. This seems like a weakness, but most medical authorities recommend keeping weight loss at 1–2 pounds a week.


  • Can be quite expensive over time

The Atkins Diet[edit]

The Atkins Diet involves the restriction of carbohydrates in one’s diet causing the body’s metabolism to switch from burning glucose as fuel to burning stored body fat, sending the body into a state of ketosis.[55] Ketosis causes a person to get their energy from ketones, which also causes them to feel less hungry.[55] Carbohydrate consumption must be <40 grams/day (= 2 slices of bread) for ketosis to occur.[55]


  • Allowed to eat rich foods
  • When in ketosis, people feel less hungry and more satisfied


  • Ketosis causes unusual breath odor and constipation
  • There is worry that the diet promotes heart disease and there is a potential loss of bone and it is not recommended for people with liver and kidney problems due to the high amounts of protein.
  • The preferred source of energy for the brain is glucose, which is decreased in a low-carbohydrate diet

GM Diet[edit]

The GM Diet was devised by the company General Motors to help its employees deal with weight gain due to sedentary work environment and achieve weight loss. The diet consists of low carbohydrates (they are primary fuel for anaerobic metabolism and strength training, a drastic depletion causes health risks) a 5–10g/kg body-weight which includes high fiber – nutrient dense starch whole foods for slow energy release and to increase satiety with fruits, tubers, vegetables…etc., a moderate protein intake of 1.5–2.0g/kg body-weight along with 20-30g healthy fats daily (it supports natural hormonal and enzymatic functioning, improves insulin sensitivity, dilate blood vessels), drinking plenty of water and abstaining from alcohol (empty calories). The GM Diet works by burning off fat stored in body through creating a calorie deficit, with daily intake of required proportioned calorie amount, to ensure homeostatic balance.

Regular exercise is required to maintain the state of recovery from weight loss management. If resistance training is employed to maintain muscle mass for better glucose-disposal and glucose-control capability, a 12 to 48 hours of rest between sessions is a required time for the muscles to recover depending on intensity of exercise or training load.[56][57] A change in hormone levels occurs in case of drastic dietary changes, like leptin – a satiety hormone, made by fat cells showed declination in levels, its function is to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger and at the same time, there is also a rise in levels of ghrelin – a hormone secreted in the gastrointestinal tract when a person’s stomach is empty and informs one they are hungry. Changes in production of these hormones along with other satiating hormones in extreme weight loss managements showed suppressed resting metabolic rate (RMR) which resulted many subjects regaining much of the lost weight.[58]

Ornish Diet[edit]

The Ornish Diet is a fat restricting diet (less than 10% of calories from fat) focusing on eating high amounts of fiber, and following a low-fat vegetarian diet.[59] The Ornish diet recommends combining the diet with exercise that allows the body’s fat burning mechanism to work most effectively.[59] The philosophy is focused less on restricting calories but by watching the ones consumed, by recommending foods that can be eaten all the time, some of the time and none of the time.[59]

Foods that can be eaten whenever hungry until one is full are:

  • Beans and legumes, fruits, grains and vegetables

Foods eaten in moderation are:

  • Nonfat dairy products – skim milk, nonfat yogurt, nonfat cheese, nonfat sour cream and egg whites

Foods to avoid

  • Meats of all kinds – if can’t give up, only eat minimally
  • Oils and oil-containing products (margarine and most salad dressings)
  • Avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, dairy products (other than non-fat ones)
  • Simple sugar and simple sugar derivatives (honey, molassess, corn syrup, and high-fructose syrup)
  • Alcohol
  • Anything commercially prepared that has more than 2 grams of fat per serving

Suggests eating a lot of little meals because this diet makes people feel hungry more often, which will help them feel full faster and eat more food without increasing the number of calories.[59]


  • Does not restrict calories
  • Doesn’t slow down metabolism
  • Recommends regular exercise, yoga and meditation along with the diet
  • Has been associated with a reversal of coronary blockage


  • Very restrictive
  • People will feel hungrier and need to eat more food (but less calories)

See also[edit]


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  • Further reading[edit]

    External links[edit]

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weight_management

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