Best way to lose weight without ‘failing’ and one food to quit, according to experts – The Mirror

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If you want to lose weight without restrictive fad diets, there’s one food you should ditch today.

We all know how difficult it is to lose weight and with so much conflicting advice out there; it can be tough to know who and what to follow. While some healthy food plans do work, many are what’s known as fad diets and they promote rapid weight loss in a way that often isn’t healthy and usually ends in people giving up, as the plan they’re following makes them feel hungry and miserable.

So if you’re looking to lose weight long-term healthily and sustainably, what diet advice should you be following? Well, according to two leading health experts, one diet rules the roost when it comes to helping people get slimmer while also not putting harsh restrictions on meals – the plant-based diet.

A plant-based diet is a great way to lose weight and be more healthy long-term (stock photo)
Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Rosie Martin, a registered dietitian for the NHS and Plant-Based Health Professionals (PBHP), told The Mirror that the key to weight management is “finding a dietary pattern that you will enjoy, will leave you satisfied, and will promote long-term and more gradual weight changes”.

She recommends people try out plant-based dieting and pointed to several studies that backed her advice. One study analysed the weight of different populations with increasing amounts of animal products in their diet and found that the only group which sat within a healthy weight range was the vegan group.

But Rosie insisted that plant-based dieting needs to involve more than simply ditching meat and other animal products, as you can still eat unhealthily as a vegan if you gorge on vegan sausage rolls. She said: “Vegan convenience and ‘ultra-processed’ foods such sausage rolls and ice cream have become increasingly available; foods that are not considered beneficial to health or weight management. Whole plant foods are therefore the key to weight management when adopting a diet free from animal products.”

The dietician explained that the “energy density” of food is also important, as humans eat a similar weight of food each day. If the food you eat is “energy-dense” then you’ll likely be filling up on sugars and saturated fat. Rosie added: “If much of that food is, instead, low energy-dense whole, plant foods, then we can eat more, fill our stomachs and feel satisfied, but we will have taken on much less energy, and much more fibre, water, polyphenols, and antioxidants that are beneficial for health and weight management.”

Rosie’s comments were echoed by doctor Laura Brown, a senior lecturer in nutrition, food and health sciences, at Teesside University, who also sang the praises of a plant-based diet for weight loss. Dr Brown said plant-based diets can “reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease”, and urged people to enjoy “wholegrains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds and plenty of fluids”.

The nutritionist added that an increased fibre intake is also beneficial for weight loss, and foods that are rich in fibre include those commonly seen in a plant-based diet, including legumes, fruit, veggies, and oats. Referencing one particular study, she said: “He et al. (2004) found that women within the NHS who significantly increased their fruit and vegetable intake had a 28 per cent lower risk of major weight gain than those with the lowest intake.”

So how can you actually lose weight on a plant-based diet? Rosie said you should think about your diet as a circle, which you can then fill in with all the food types you need to eat in one day. Fill half the circle with fruits and veggies, one quarter with wholegrains like brown rice, oats, and wholemeal bread, and one quarter with protein plant foods such as beans, lentils, or tofu.

She added: “Top your meal with a small amount of healthy fats such as seeds or avocado. If weight reduction is your target, try to limit some of the higher energy-dense plant foods such as nut butters and oil.”

Rosie also explained: “Eating this way will maximise the fibre and beneficial plant compounds, increase gut bacterial diversity, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce your energy intake without leaving you hungry, and support you to reach your best weight. Vegan convenience foods are of course fun to try, so you can enjoy these every now and again if you wish to. Remember it is what you consume most of the time that is important, not what you enjoy on special occasions.

“A healthy weight looks different on everyone and your best weight may be bigger or smaller than those around you. Aim for the healthiest diet that fits your lifestyle, move your body in ways you enjoy, develop healthy sleep habits, and spend time with loved ones, and your body will take care of the rest.”

You can find more information about eating a balanced diet on the NHS website. The health body recommends women eat 2,000 calories a day, while men should aim for 2,500.

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