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For obese individuals, losing weight is not just a matter of aesthetics, but a necessity from the point of view of health. Reducing body fat is important for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as controlling cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Weight normalization is not necessary to achieve these goals. It is important to make the obese patient aware that even small losses, such as 5% of body weight, already bring great health benefits.


Obesity treatment requires a combination of three factors: diet, exercise and changes in lifestyle. Eventually, it is necessary to use remedies to lose weight. In the most severe cases, bariatric surgery may be indicated.

In this text we will summarize the role of food and diet options for weight loss.

As explained in other articles in this series on losing weight, losing weight or gaining weight, it can be predicted by a simple arithmetic account: calories expended – calories consumed. If the calorie balance is positive, that is, if we eat more calories than we expend, we will gain weight. If the balance is negative, that is, if we spend more calories than we consume, we will lose weight. That simple.

Calorie expenditure depends on your degree of physical activity. Calorie consumption depends on the type of diet. Therefore, the role of diet in weight loss should be to provide the best quality of food with the least amount of calories, so that, at the end of the day, the patient has expended more calories than he has consumed.


You may be tempted by fad diets that promise quick and easy weight loss. The reality, however, is that there are no magic foods or fast diets. Trendy diets may help in the short term, but the long-term results are not satisfactory, causing you to have the famous accordion effect.

A diet to be effective should provide fewer calories per day than the patient spends, while maintaining a minimum of 800 calories per day. You may even lose weight on a radical diet, but you are likely to regain it when the diet is stopped. To lose weight, and keep it off, you have to adopt healthy eating habits, which you can maintain over time.

It is very difficult to lose weight in the long run on diet alone. As we lose weight, less calories our body needs to spend throughout the day. If the patient does not increase his calorie expenditure with exercise, the diet alone will not take him very far.

Let’s talk about some types of diet recommended by doctors below.


When planning a diet to lose weight it is necessary to first establish the amount of calories desired and then select a range of foods that meet this proposal. It is important to cut calories, but it is essential to eat foods with adequate nutrients, such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats (yes, there are good fats.).

Thinking of cutting calories without cutting the quality of the meal, weight reduction diets should eliminate alcohol, soft drinks and sweets, because these are hypercaloric and do not contain adequate amounts of other nutrients.

Some foods, such as desserts, sweets, fats and processed foods, have a high energy density. This means that a small volume of food contains a large number of calories. In contrast, other foods, such as fruits and vegetables, have low energy density. These foods, even in larger portions, have a lower number of calories. This means that it is possible to eat larger portions, satiate hunger and still eat fewer calories.

The daily calorie intake indicated in these diets is 1000 to 1200 for women and 1200 to 1600 for men. To plan a low calorie diet you need the help of a nutritionist and / or endocrinologist.


Most people do not know and cannot control their calorie consumption without help. Studies with obese patients show that they always underestimate the amount of calories they eat throughout the day by more than 20%. It is not uncommon to find obese people who swear to eat very little. However, whenever a nutritionist manages to make a report on the diet of these patients, it is clear that there are several errors in food and an excessive consumption of calories.


Low-fat diet is another common strategy to help patients lose weight. Currently, a reduction in daily fat intake is recommended, so that a maximum of 30% of calories come from fat. This means approximately 30g of fats per 1000 calories ingested. Once again, professional help is needed to correctly calculate portions.

It is important to remember that there are healthier fats, such as poly and monounsaturated fats. Unhealthy fats, such as saturated fats and trans fat, should always be avoided.


The type of carbohydrate consumed greatly influences weight loss. There are less healthy carbohydrates, high in fat and calories, like sweets, desserts and soft drinks. The carbohydrates of fruits, vegetables and grains are healthy because they contain little concentration of fats and calories. The latter are considered carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.

Diets with low and very low carbohydrate concentrations are more effective in the short term for weight loss than diets with low fat content, although in the long run there is no big difference.

An important observation is that the drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake decreases fluid retention, causing the patient to lose weight without necessarily losing weight in the first days.

Low-carb diets can have other beneficial effects, such as reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and heart disease.

If a low carbohydrate diet is the option, healthy choices for fat (mono and polyunsaturated) and protein (fish, nuts, vegetables and chicken) should be encouraged because of the association between saturated fat intake and risk of disease cardiovascular.


Some popular diets recommend a high protein intake associated with a low intake of carbohydrates and fats. In the short term, this type of diet is effective for weight loss. The most famous protein diet at the moment is the so-called Dukan diet (read: DANGERS OF THE DUKAN DIET ).

The high consumption of proteins in the diet increases the production of acids by the body, which in turn increases urinary calcium excretion, with a potential risk of bone loss and formation of calcium stones. This diet also carries a risk of increased cholesterol (read: CHOLESTEROL HDL | CHOLESTEROL LDL | TRIGLYCERIDES ).


About 39% of women and 21% of men in Western countries have tried to lose weight and approximately 24% of women and 8% of men report that they are currently “on a diet”.

Hypocaloric diets are currently the most used to induce weight loss.

Regardless of the type of diet chosen, the patient must keep in mind that it is necessary to change eating habits. No one can stay “on a diet to lose weight” for long. Therefore, healthy eating must become the patient’s natural diet. Foods with high caloric density, carbohydrates with high glycemic content and trans and saturated fats should be eliminated from the patient’s usual diet.

The most important thing is to learn to have a balanced diet, without excess calories, and to practice physical exercises.