A new study reveals that a healthy lifestyle is more likely to lead to weight loss than skipping meals or using diet pills.
Researchers at Ohio State University (USA) examined adherence to the American Heart Association’s 8 Essential Life Recommendations in people who had clinically significant and non-clinically significant weight loss.
They found that increased physical activity and a healthy diet promote successful weight loss, while skipping meals and using prescription diet pills are not associated with long-term weight management. .
The results show that more adults would benefit from adopting heart-healthy measures to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a key strategy for reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other major health problems.
In June 2022, the American Heart Association (AHA) released “Life’s Essential 8Trusted Source,” 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, nutrient-dense foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal protein, skinless poultry, fish and seafood.
– Be more active: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.
– Stop smoking: quitting smoking is always recommended by experts to avoid many health problems.
– Sleep well: Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per 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.
– Manage blood sugar: Monitoring your hemoglobin A1c level can help you control your blood sugar.
– Blood pressure control: Adults should maintain optimal blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg.
– These 8 recommendations are considered crucial for heart health, but it is not known whether people trying to lose weight comply with them.
Recently, researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) examined compliance with the 8 recommendations in people who had or had not lost intentional and clinically significant weight. The results confirm what many people know to be true: increased exercise and a healthy diet promote successful weight loss.
The study also points out that people who are actively trying to lose weight may benefit from keeping their heart health in mind.
The results are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Weight loss: The quality of food and a healthy lifestyle are essential
The study recruited 20,305 American adults aged 19 or older. The median age was about 47 years, about half (49.6%) were women.
Subjects also participated in a health and nutrition survey between 2007 and 2016. In the survey, participants were asked about their weight in the previous year, smoking habits, physical activity, average number of hours of sleep per night, their weight loss strategy and what they had eaten in the previous 24 hours. Their BMI, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels were measured during medical examinations and laboratory tests. The researchers used the NHANES data to calculate the individuals’ scores and assess the quality of their diet.
Of the 20,305 people, 2,840 had intentionally lost at least 5% of their body weight in the past year. The researchers defined 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 just 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 higher diet quality in terms of total protein, refined grains and added sugars, although they have a lower quality diet with respect to sodium.
Diet pills and skipping meals can lead to a ‘weight cycle’
Compared to subjects who experienced clinically significant weight loss, those who lost less than 5% of their weight were more likely to skip meals or use prescription diet 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 did not promote sustained weight management, as these strategies did not result in long-term deficits in calorie intake or increased calories burned (thanks to physical activity).
People who follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly are more likely to achieve long-term weight loss success because they are more in control of their behavior.
Skipping meals and taking diet pills can be signs of losing control rather than methods that don’t necessarily work. These methods may be effective in other people.
How Heart-Healthy Lifestyles Influence Weight Management
People who lost clinically significant weight reported better diet quality, more moderate and intense physical activity, and lower non-LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. which helps to improve scores for diet, physical activity and blood lipid levels.
However, those who lost clinically significant weight also had significantly higher BMI and blood sugar scores and reported fewer hours of sleep. These results translate into 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 Life’s Essential 8 composite score 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% weight loss. body weight (100 being the ideal score).
The study results underscore the need for continued efforts to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle, even among people who experienced clinically significant weight loss.