Arthritis, Diets and Weight Loss Programs
You may have read about many “diets” or weight-loss programs that claim you can lose weight by cutting out one type of food or another from your diet. You may have friends who have lost dramatic amounts of weight on various popular plans. These programs are often called “elimination diets,” because they suggest that you eliminate a whole food group from your menu in order to eliminate excess fat from your body.
For instance, some weight-loss programs tell you to eliminate carbohydrates. Others tell you to cut almost all fats out of your diet. Some programs push eating high amounts of protein. Some of these programs may work for you if your desire is to lose weight. By why do they work?
The reason these diets work is because they cut calories from your diet. These programs are known as calories-deficient diets. There’s that old word again – calories – but nobody has been using it for years, have they? Calorie has been replaced by other terms, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins, right?
No – calories are still the key to any weight program and any weight-loss strategy. Every food has a caloric value. You can read the caloric value of most foods by checking the nutrition label on the side of packages, or by looking up the value in calorie counter books available in most bookstores. No matter how you package the plan, the key to losing weight is calories, not fat or carbohydrates or any other nutrient.
In other words, you may cut out a lot of the fat in your diet by eating “fat-free” or “low-fat” foods in abundance. These foods can include things like celery or plain baked potatoes, but they can also include jellybeans, licorice sticks, fat-free chocolate pudding, fat-free turkey wieners and fat-free cheese. You might think that you could eat these foods in unlimited quantities, because these foods technically have little or no dietary fat. But all of these foods have calories, and some of these foods are quite high in calories. By eating them in large amounts, you could be eating too many calories for your body’s needs. And that leads to excess weight.