Alter Your Eating Habits For Better Weight Control

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One study published last year even suggested that following a Mediterranean diet pattern might help with better body weight control and therefore reduce one's risk for becoming overweight or obese[1]. In general a Mediterranean diet is typically rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, nuts, beans, and seeds, with only low to moderate consumption of red meat and wine. However, there are variations within a 'typical' Mediterranean diet pattern and the impact of these variations on body weight is unclear.

In an obesity study recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition, investigators assessed the impact of particular eating habits on weight control and risk for obesity in a Mediterranean population[2]. Over 10,000 Spanish individuals were asked about their eating habits including consumption of items such as fruit, vegetables, fish, fiber, meat, sweets, pastries, butter, fat, and more. Assessment of the questionnaire responses showed that:

Lower levels of meat and fat consumption were linked with lower weight gain.
Lower weight gain was also linked with removing fat from meat before eating the meat.
Higher levels of fruit, fish, and fiber consumption were linked with lower rates of being overweight or obese.
Individuals in the highest quarter of the eating habits score where 38% less likely to become overweight or obese compared to individuals in the lowest quarter of the eating habits score.

Overall, this study shows us that different eating habits are evident in a Mediterranean population. Furthermore, as one might expect, eating habits that included consuming more fruits, fiber, and fish were linked to better weight control over time. In contrast, eating more meat and fat was linked to poorer weight control and a greater risk for becoming overweight or obese in this study population. While these might not be surprising results to many of us, they continue to confirm the importance of developing healthy eating habits for effective body weight control. Following a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish that provides plenty of dietary fiber appears to be one of the best diet patterns for weight control, while over-consumption of meats and fats can lead to increased weight gain over time. It is results like these that have induced various agencies to suggest that half or more of our dinner plates should be loaded with fruits and vegetables. So, if you are looking to maintain a healthy body weight over the long haul and better body weight control, be sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, and fiber in your regular diet plans.
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