Is coconut oil a magic bullet for weight loss?
Coconut oil has been receiving a fair amount of attention lately in nutrition circles. Proponents say coconut oil brings a variety of benefits to the table, such as improving your cholesterol profile and perhaps even chipping in on weight control.
Although much of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, it is different than the saturated fat found in animal foods and many other foods.
Bottom line: Though the research behind its health benefits (or lack thereof) is mixed, it’s probably fine to include coconut oil in your diet. It adds a nutty, rich, almost buttery taste to salads and sautéed vegetables. Choose unprocessed (virgin) coconut oil to get the fullest measure of essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
Are eggs healthy or not?
For years we’ve been told to avoid eggs because of their cholesterol. But it turns out this may not be necessary. For people without heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol, eating an egg a day appears to have no negative impact on heart health.
It’s true that egg yolks contain a fair amount of cholesterol, but mounting research suggests eating cholesterol doesn’t necessarily raise your body’s cholesterol levels. Eggs are also good sources of protein, several B vitamins, choline, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Depending on how the chickens who laid them are fed, eggs can also be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and lutein, which helps with eye health.
Eggs are great not only because of their nutrients—an omelet is also a fantastic veggie-delivery vehicle for someone who is not a natural vegetable lover.
Bottom line: Limit yourself to one yolk a day, or three per week if you have heart disease or diabetes. Also, stay away from these 20 foods that are never worth the calories.
All my friends are going Paleo or keto. Should I try one too?
The Paleo and ketogenic diets are related, with an emphasis on cutting carbs while increasing protein and fat. With Paleo, dieters eat “like cavemen,” sticking with fruits, vegetables, and meat while steering clear of grains and processed foods. On the other hand, the ketogenic diet involves paying close attention to macronutrients: carbs, fat, and protein. The idea is that by limiting carbs while eating foods high in fat and moderate in protein, the body is forced to burn fat instead of sugars.
There’s a reason there are so many low-carb advocates bragging about how their diet has changed their bodies—both Paleo and keto have had promising results in weight-loss studies. But studies tend to be small and short, so it’s too early to claim they’re the answer to keeping the number on the scale low in the long term.
Bottom line: Consider your lifestyle and what you’re willing to give up before committing to a diet. Your goal should be long-term wellbeing—not just quick results—and you’ll regain the weight if you get burnt out. “The sustainability [of these diets] is just really low for the majority of people,” says registered dietitian Marjorie Nolan Cohn, RDN, owner of MNC Nutrition in Philadelphia. “After a period of time, you get that sense of deprivation because you’re not eating that variety that you were used to.” But if you could take or leave bread, these diets could be for you. Before taking the plunge, read the 15 things you need to know before starting a keto diet.
Do I need to cut 3,500 calories to lose one pound?
In 1958, a now-famous study crunched some numbers and concluded that cutting 3,500 calories was the equivalent of shedding one pound. But that study came out 50 years ago, and suffice to say, we’ve learned a lot since then. Studies now show that the body will adjust to your new diet, says Laura Acosta, RDN, registered dietitian and dietetics lecturer at the University of Florida. The thinner you get, the harder it is to keep the weight-loss momentum going.
Sure enough, a more recent 2014 report confirmed we need to update the equation. While cutting calories does help you drop pounds, the weight-loss rate slows down by the time you’ve been dieting for four weeks, the analysis found. The 3,500-calorie rule “can lead to unrealistic expectations and eventual frustration when dieters can’t seem to shake those last few pounds,” says Acosta.
Bottom line: Cutting 100 calories a day doesn’t mean you’ll automatically lose ten pounds this year, so quit treating your meal plans like a perfect equation. Find an eating plan that will keep you healthy and satisfied in the long term, and be prepared to tweak it to match your body’s new needs, starting with these 12 secrets of people who have maintained their weight loss.