Diets that are low in calories are the least effective for weight loss

SPECIALISTS recommend a varied and not very strict diet with a steady weight loss to achieve your objectives.

Diets that are low in calories and restrict certain food groups are the least effective because the body reacts by reducing its energy use. What’s more, although at first you may lose weight, in the long-term it gets more difficult, claim nutrition specialists from Hospitals Quirónsalud Murcia, Valencia and Torrevieja.

After Christmas a lot of patients decide to embark on miracle diets, taking weight reducing products, or doing intensive gym routines to burn off excess fat. Carolina Perez, nutritionist at Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja and Hospital Quirónsalud Murcia, explains: “the main risk of miracle diets is related to the speed at which the individual loses weight. The drastic reduction in the calories they consume creates nutritional imbalances. The apparent success at the start of the diet is not just due to a loss of fats, but also to a loss of muscle, one of the most metabolically active body tissues we have, which explains the bad results of the diet in the long run”.

Nutritionist Rocio Praxedes from the Obesity Unit at Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia advises people to try a moderately low-calorie diet for more effective results: “that way people prevent their metabolism adapting which can later hinder a continuous weight loss; and more obviously because if a patient is hungry they are more likely to quit their diet”. 

Medical Advice

For a diet to be effective specialists recommend following these steps:

  • Choose a complete and varied diet that covers 100 per cent of your nutritional requirements, and includes all basic food groups.
  • Don’t be too strict and adapt the diet to your own tastes, to avoid giving it up.
  • Maintain a steady weight loss; losing more than one kilo a week is counterproductive. The optimum weight loss is 500gr-700gr/week.
  • Be realistic. Plan progressive changes to your diet and achievable objectives.
  • Don’t skip any meals. Normally diets consist of five meals a day which must be carried out to maintain blood sugar levels and not be too hungry before the next meal.
  • Respect everyone’s beliefs and cultures.

When to choose surgery

When talking about a BMI (body mass index) of over 35, patients should first follow a diet supervised by a specialised nutritionist. If this does not reach the desired results, obesity surgery or bariatric surgery is an option. It should always be a doctor who decides what treatment is necessary and safe for each patient.

The advances in minimally invasive operations have revolutionised modern surgery in the last decade, including bariatric surgery. “The comprehensive treatment offered to overweight, obese, or diabetic patients guarantees the best results. What’s more the risks of the operation are very low, especially compared to the possible illnesses the patients are exposed to if they continue suffering from the disease”, assures Doctor Pedro Bretcha, coordinator of the Obesity, General Surgery and Digestive System units at Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja.

The benefits of the intervention are many, “80 per cent of diabetic patients overcome the illness, and the condition of the other 20 per cent is made substantially better and includes a weight loss of over 70 per cent of excess fat, even reaching an optimum weight if patients accompany the treatment with a healthy lifestyle. This leads to an increase in life expectancy of obese patients of up to 10 years, and a better quality of life”, points out Doctor Carlos Sala, coordinator of the Obesity unit and specialist in metabolic surgery at Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia. In spite of its advantages, only five per cent of overweight Spaniards undergo surgery due to a lack of information or not having access to the treatment.

About Quirónsalud

Quirónsalud is the most important hospital group in Spain, and the third largest in Europe.

It can be found in 13 regions in Spain, has state-of-the-art technology and offers over 6,500 beds in more than 100 healthcare centres, such as Fundacion Jimenez Diaz, Hospital Universitario Quirónsalud Madrid, Hospital Universitario Dexeus, Ruber, Centro Medico Teknon, Hospital La Luz, Policlinica de Guipuzcoa, Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia, etc., as well as a huge team of highly qualified professionals of international prestige.

They promote teaching (seven of the centres are university hospitals) and medical and scientific research (they run the Jimenez Diaz Foundation and the Instituto de Investigacion Sanitaria Healthcare Research Institute – the only private research centre licensed by the Ministry for Research, Development and Innovation).

Likewise, their healthcare service is organised into departments and crosscutting networks that allow for taking advantage of a wealth of experience at difference centres, and putting their research into practice.

Currently, Quirónsalud is developing many research projects across Spain, and many of its healthcare centres carry out cutting edge work in this field, as pioneers in different specialisations such as radiology, cardiology, endocrinology, gynaecology, neurology, oncology and sports medicine, among others.

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    • Stefan H

      22 January 2018 • 12:01

      The real culprit is carbohydrates. Cut your sugar and your fats, and you should be just fine. The other problem is the urge to eat, which is brought on by stress. So, you need to calm down, eat lots of protein and vegetables. The best way I’ve found to do that is with tea. But not just any tea, African red tea detox.
      This should calm you down when you’re busy at work. Instead of reaching for a donut or a coffee break, have some tea. Learn to eat well and cut snacking by having something hot and relaxing to drink. It’s more than a drink, it’s a change in your lifestyle. And through that, I’m sure anyone can learn to lose weight.


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