Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don't skip meals and avoid going out to lunch

Date:
July 13, 2012
Source:
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Summary:
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.

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: • Be honest -- record everything you eat • Be accurate -- measure portions, read labels • Be complete -- include details such as how the food was prepared, and the addition of any toppings or condiments • Be consistent -- always carry your food diary with you or use a diet-tracking application on your smart phone

"While the study provided a printed booklet for the women to record their food and beverage consumption, a food journal doesn't have to be anything fancy," McTiernan said. "Any notebook or pad of paper that is easily carried or an online program that can be accessed any time through a smart phone or tablet should work fine."

In addition to documenting every morsel that passes one's lips, another good weight-loss strategy is to eat at regular intervals and avoid skipping meals. "The mechanism is not completely clear, but we think that skipping meals or fasting might cause you to respond more favorably to high-calorie foods and therefore take in more calories overall," she said. "We also think skipping meals might cluster together with other behaviors. For instance, the lack of time and effort spent on planning and preparing meals may lead a person to skip meals and/or eat out more."

Eating out frequently, another factor associated with less weight loss, may be a barrier for making healthful dietary choices. "Eating in restaurants usually means less individual control over ingredients and cooking methods, as well as larger portion sizes," the authors wrote.

The analysis was based on data from 123 overweight-to-obese, sedentary, Seattle-area women, ages 50 to 75, who were randomly assigned to two arms of a controlled, randomized year-long dietary weight-loss intervention study: diet only and exercise plus diet. Study participants filled out a series of questionnaires to assess dietary intake, eating-related weight-control strategies, self-monitoring behaviors and meal patterns. They were also asked to complete a 120-item food-frequency questionnaire to assess dietary change from the beginning to the end of the study.

At the end of the study, participants in both arms lost an average of 10 percent of their starting weight, which was the goal of the intervention.

"We think our findings are promising because it shows that basic strategies such as maintaining food journals, eating out less often and eating at regular intervals are simple tools that postmenopausal women -- a group commonly at greater risk for weight gain -- can use to help them lose weight successfully," McTiernan said.

The National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Research Resources funded the study, which involved collaborators at the NCI, the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. McTiernan et al. Self-monitoring and Eating-related Behaviors are Associated with 12-month Weight Loss Among Postmenopausal Overweight-to-obese Women in a Dietary Weight Loss Intervention. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2012 (in press)

Cite This Page:

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don't skip meals and avoid going out to lunch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120713080029.htm>.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. (2012, July 13). Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don't skip meals and avoid going out to lunch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120713080029.htm
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don't skip meals and avoid going out to lunch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120713080029.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A CDC report says birth rates among teenagers have been declining for decades, reaching a new low in 2013. We look at several popular explanations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Antibiotic Could Lead To Heart-Related Death

Common Antibiotic Could Lead To Heart-Related Death

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Danish researchers discovered patients taking clarithromycin have an increased risk of dying from a heart-related issue. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins