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Diet Counseling to Treat Obesity
Dietary Therapy to Reduce Weight
Weight Loss Information - Weight Reduction Guide

Obesity Treatment - Diet Counseling

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Dietary Therapy

Dietary therapy involves reducing the number of calories you eat and learning strategies like how to read nutrition labels and select portion sizes, which types of foods to buy, and how to prepare them.

How Much Should You Eat?

Knowing how many calories you eat will help you determine the amount to reduce from your current intake.

Keeping a food diary is a good starting point to determine what you eat and drink, and to calculate the total calories for an average day.

Low and Very-Low Calorie Diets

These diets are designed for individuals whose health would benefit from rapid weight loss. Supervision by a healthcare professional is recommended when calorie intake is below 1000 calories per day. Some side effects such as nutritional deficiencies may occur.

Energy consumption must be reduced. High calorie/low volume foods should be avoided and replaced with an increase in complex carbs (such as whole grain foods) and an increase in fruit and vegetables.

A reduced fat intake is also an important element of a balanced healthy diet.

Low-calorie diets are about 800 to 1,400 calories per day. If you have a BMI of 27 or more, or a BMI of 25 or more with co-morbid conditions, this diet may be appropriate for you.

Very-Low calorie diets are less than 800 calories per day. These typically include protein-enriched liquid foods. If you have a BMI of 30 or more, or a BMI of 27 or more with CO-morbid conditions, this diet may be appropriate for you.

Dietary Advice and Help

Consult your doctor, dietitian or join a reputable program for help on determining how many calories to reduce. They can follow your progress, and help you make changes as needed.

To find a dietitian or program in your area, the American Dietetic Association can help you Find a Dietitian.

What Should You Eat?

Reducing calories involves making sure to balance your diet with a variety of foods. The USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains, lean meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy products.

The USDA Food Guide Pyramid serves as a guide on daily nutrition, and is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The Nutrition Facts Panel, developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), provides information about calories, portions (servings) and nutrients of packaged food and beverage products.

See also Exercise and Obesity

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