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Saturday, 30 August 2014 12:49

Five Important Diet Facts for Weight Loss

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Now that obesity is recognized by the AMA as a disease, lots of information (and some false claims) are available. Here's help sifting through the facts from medical experts.

First, a few medical terms:

Metabolism refers to the chemical processes in the body that maintain life. Metabolism is often used to describe the process of turning food into energy, which can then be used for work, growth, cell repair and reproduction.
Calories (also called large calories or kilocalories) are units of heat energy. Every food we eat has an potential amount of calories that can be converted into energy for work.
Excess calories not used by the body for work are converted into fat. This tissue (called "adipose") can be stored under the skin around the breasts, chest, waist and buttocks.
Basal Metabolic Rate
Your body burns energy even while resting, by breathing, circulating blood, cell growth and repair, and adjusting hormone levels. The number of calories used to carry out these basic functions is called the "basal metabolic rate." According to the Mayo Clinic, "your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75 percent of the calories you burn every day." BMR can be used as a baseline to calculate your daily caloric needs.
Obesity is the condition of being grossly overweight. Obesity can lead to other diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Obesity can be calculated using a "body mass index" (BMI) measurement which compares height to weight. BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703. A BMI of 25 is considered normal. A range of 25 < 30 is overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher is (usually) obese. Click here for a free online BMI checker.

Obesity is a Serious Epidemic

Obesity is now officially recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a disease. It can lead to other serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Currently one-third of Americans are overweight, and one-third are obese. Adult and childhood obesity rates have doubled over the last few decades. According to the Rand Corporation, obesity is a greater health risk than smoking, drinking or poverty.

Calories In [Food] - Calories Out [Exercise] = Weight Change

How much you eat affects your weight. If you are overweight or obese, examine your diet. Look carefully for "empty calories," foods with high calorie content and little or no nutritional value (soda, sweets, fast food).

Moderate exercise is important for overall health. Our sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. For adults age 18-64, the U.S. government (CDC) recommends 150 minutes (30 mins. x 5 days) per week of moderate exercise (brisk walk) and two muscle-strengthening activities (yoga) twice a week.

To lose weight, you must take in less calories than your body uses. You can burn off some extra calories by exercising. Moderate physical activity also improves the body's overall health. Caloric intake and physical activity are two of the most important factors in weight management.

Nutrition is Important

The food we eat contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which are required for good health. The U.S. government offers dietary reommendations at

Eating a healthy diet doesn't mean giving up the foods you love - it means making healthy choices so you feel good! Consult a California Medical Weight Management physician-supervised weight loss center for help designing a healthy meal plan.

Support is a Factor of Success

Fads and yo-yo dieting don't work! Studies have shown that one of the biggest factors in long-term weight loss success is support. Accountability, weigh-ins, weekly check-ins, group support and counseling have been shown to increase the chance of successful healthy weight management.

Other Factors

Many studies link obesity to other factors (genetic, behavioral, biological and environmental). All these studies provide important insight into obesity. But none of these markers is impossible to overcome. If you have fallen off the diet wagon, look at the triggers that may lead you to over-eat. Identifying those triggers helps you avoid them or get better prepared in the future.

If you are overweight or obese, consult with medical weight loss experts at California Medical Weight Management (

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