Nutritional Management of Obesity

Publication Date: February 28, 2024

Key Points

Key Points

Principles of Healthful Nutrition

  • Consumption of healthful proteins and fats such as seafood and dairy products (while being mindful of caloric content)
  • Consumption of vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains
  • Complex carbohydrates over simple sugars; low glycemic index foods over high glycemic index foods; high-fiber foods over low-fiber foods
  • Minimizing energy-dense foods and beverages such as sugar-sweetened beverages, juice, cream
  • Minimizing ultra-processed foods of minimum nutritional value such as refined grains, “sweets,” “junk foods,” cakes, cookies, candy, pies, chips, and ultra-processed meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, pastrami
  • Minimizing trans fats and excessive sodium
  • Reading labels rather than marketing claims

Choosing Nutrition Therapy

The most appropriate nutritional therapy for weight loss is one that is safe, effective, and one to which the patient will adhere.
  • Encourage foods that result in a negative caloric balance to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Consider the following:
    • Eating behaviors and meal patterns
    • Prior successful nutrition plans
    • Cultural background, traditions, and food availability
    • Time constraints and financial issues
    • Nutritional knowledge and cooking skills
    • Medical conditions potentially affected by the nutrition plan
  • Restricting dietary fat leads to a greater reduction in total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, whereas restricting dietary carbohydrate leads to a greater reduction in serum triglycerides and an increase in HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C).
  • Reduction of carbohydrates can lead to a greater reduction in serum glucose and hemoglobin A1C.
  • Reduction of carbohydrates and/or saturated fats may promote visceral and liver fat reduction.



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