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Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don't skip meals and avoid going out to lunch
Date:7/12/2012

SEATTLE Women who want to lose weight should faithfully keep a food journal, and avoid skipping meals and eating in restaurants especially at lunch suggests new research from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The findings by Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the first study to look at the impact of a wide range of self-monitoring and diet-related behaviors and meal patterns on weight change among overweight and obese postmenopausal women are published online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the Journal of the American Dietetic Association).

"When it comes to weight loss, evidence from randomized, controlled trials comparing different diets finds that restricting total calories is more important than diet composition such as low-fat versus low-carbohydrate. Therefore, the specific aim of our study was to identify behaviors that supported the global goal of calorie reduction," McTiernan said.

Specifically, McTiernan and colleagues found that:

  • Women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not
  • Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than women who did not
  • Women who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less frequently (eating out often at all meal times was associated with less weight loss, but the strongest association was observed with lunch)

"For individuals who are trying to lose weight, the No. 1 piece of advice based on these study results would be to keep a food journal to help meet daily calorie goals. It is difficult to make changes to your diet when you are not paying close attention to what you are eating," said McTiernan, director of the Hutchinson Center's Prevention Center and a member of its Public Health Sciences Division.

Study participants were given the following tips for keeping a food journal:


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Contact: Kristen Woodward
kwoodwar@fhcrc.org
206-667-5095
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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