2006/May/08

When it comes to weight loss, there's no shortage of advice. Check any magazine rack or bookstore and you're bound to come across that latest and greatest cure for being overweight. Some even work for a while.

But what you need to look for is something that works for a lifetime a weight-loss approach that can help you establish a healthy lifestyle to control weight. And the best weight-loss program for you is one that you'll commit to long term.

Here's a summary of five different types of weight-loss strategies in circulation today. Though these approaches may not be the ultimate weight solution to your weight-loss quandary, they may help you see the relationship between what you put in your mouth and its eventual effect on your body.

1. Low-fat diets

Eating foods low in fat is a logical strategy for losing weight. A gram of fat contains twice as many calories as a gram of carbohydrates or protein. So cutting down on high-fat foods can help you cut down on your daily calories and thus help you lose weight.

So why don't low-fat diets always work? The truth is that even a low-fat diet can lead to weight gain when people ignore the total amount of calories they're eating and regularly exceed their daily calorie goals. Too many calories from any source, low-fat foods included, can add pounds.

It's also not a good idea to cut most or all fat from your diet. This may deprive you of essential fatty acids which are necessary for the health of your body and possibly other nutrients sometimes found in foods that contain fat. In addition, your body needs some dietary fat to help absorb certain vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K.

Whatever percentage of your calories is from fat, choose fats that will promote your long-term health. Limit saturated fats found in animal products, coconut, palm and palm kernel oils and trans fats (hydrogenated oils). Instead, use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and nut oils, avocados, and olive, canola and other plant oils