A new study shows that a healthy lifestyle is more likely to lead to weight loss than dieting or using diet pills.
Researchers at Ohio State University (USA) tested adherence to the 8 Essential Lifestyle Recommendations of the American Heart Association in people with clinically significant and non-clinically significant weight loss.
They found that increased physical activity and a healthy diet promoted successful weight loss, while skipping meals and using prescription medications were not associated with long-term weight control.
The results show that more adults will benefit from taking mental health measures to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is an important strategy for reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems.
In May 2022, the American Heart Association (AHA) released the “8 Essential Lifestyle Guidelines,” a checklist of eight lifestyle recommendations for improving and maintaining heart health. These recommendations are as follows
– Eat better: Eat a healthy, balanced diet of unprocessed, nutritious foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins , lean meat protein, lean chicken, fish and seafood.
– Be more active: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week.
– Stop smoking: quitting smoking is often recommended by experts to avoid many health problems.
– Sleep well: Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
– Managing your weight: Body mass index (BMI) is often used to assess a person’s weight or body composition, although it is not the only indicator of healthy weight or obesity.
– Cholesterol control: controlling low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) is important for overall health.
– Control blood sugar: Monitoring your hemoglobin A1c level can help you control your blood sugar.
– Blood pressure control: Adults should maintain an ideal blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg.
– These 8 recommendations are important for heart health, but we don’t know if people are trying to lose weight according to them.
Recently, researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) tested compliance with 8 recommendations in people with or without significant and clinically significant weight loss. The results confirm what most people know to be true: increased exercise and a healthy diet promote successful weight loss.
The study also indicates that people who are trying to lose weight may benefit from keeping their heart healthy.
The results are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Weight loss: Quality food and a healthy lifestyle are important
The study included 20,305 American adults aged 19 or older. The median age was 47 years, about half (49.6%) were women.
Subjects also participated in a health and nutrition study between 2007 and 2016. In the study, participants were asked about their weight in the past year, smoking habits, physical activity, total number of hours of sleep at night, their weight loss pattern and what they have eaten in the previous 24 hours. Their BMI, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels were measured during medical and laboratory tests. Researchers used NHANES data to estimate individuals’ statistics and assess their diet quality.
Of the 20,305 people, 2,840 had intentionally lost at least 5% of their body weight in the past year. Researchers describe this as “clinically significant weight loss.” The remaining 17,465 people lost less than 5% of their weight, maintained their weight or gained weight in the past year. Of those who lost clinically significant weight, 77.6% said they exercised to lose weight, compared to 63.1% of those who did not lose at least 5% of their weight.
The researchers also looked at individual components of the diet and found that subjects who experienced clinically significant weight loss had a higher quality of diet in terms of total protein, refined grains and added sugars, although they have low nutritional quality with regard to sodium.
Diet pills and diet can lead to ‘weight loss’
Compared to those who experienced clinically significant weight loss recently, those who lost less than 5% of their weight were more likely to skip meals or use prescription pills. In their article, the researchers point out that these strategies are not supported by scientific evidence and that “their use is linked to clinically insignificant weight loss or gain, weight cycling and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Skipping meals and using diet pills “probably do not promote stable weight management, because these strategies do not lead to long-term deficits in calorie intake or increased calories (thanks to physical activity).
People who follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly are more likely to achieve long-term weight loss because they are more in control of their behavior.
Dieting and taking diet pills can be signs of weight loss control rather than methods that don’t necessarily work. These methods may be effective in other people.
How Mentally Healthy Lifestyles Affect Weight Management
People who lost clinically significant weight reported better diet quality, more moderate and vigorous physical activity, and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels which helped improve gut health. to nutrition, physical activity and blood lipid levels.
However, those who lost clinically significant weight also had significantly higher BMI and blood sugar levels and reported fewer hours of sleep. These results mean worse scores for BMI, blood sugar and sleep health compared to people who did not lose at least 5% of their body weight.
Therefore, the mean 8-point average value was the same for both groups: 63.0 for the group with clinically significant weight loss and 63.4 for the group without at least 5% of their body weight loss (100 is the best score).
The results of the study highlight the need for continued efforts to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially among people who experience clinically significant weight loss.