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Weight Reduction Diet

Weight Reduction Diet


Excess body fat is a pandemic health problem in the United States. This problem has been associated with increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, maturity onset diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis and certain forms of cancer. Ideal body fat is 15% for males and 20% for females according to national statistics. A 10% increase of body fat has been shown to significantly increase the risk of many major degenerative diseases. A number of diet plans are available for proper weight loss. The measures of a successful and safe program are:

1. It primarily must result in fat, not muscle, loss.
2. It must prevent the excessive build-up of ketones
3. It must allow the patient to function without illness.
4. It must prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Persons on high-fat weight reduction diets (which are diuretic in nature) may lose weight quickly. These diets are dangerous, however, because most of this weight loss is due to water loss, not a decrease in body fat. Each pound of body fat represents 3,500 calories of stored energy. By reducing calorie intake by 500 calories per day, one pound of fat can be lost safely per week. Each 500 calorie additional reduction will promote an additional pound of fat loss per week. It has been found a high-protein reducing diet will prevent muscle protein loss while promoting body fat loss. The combination of protein and the sugar fructose in the diet encourages appetite suppression, and prevents excessive ketone build-up. This is the biochemical strategy which underlies the Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF) using a high-protein, low-fat, low-calorie diet.

Different weight reduction diet plans have declared safe and successful including:

1. The Low Fat Diet (Pritikin)
2. The Eat to Win Diet with Exercise
3. The Vegetarian Diet
4. The High Fiber Diet
5 The High Protein-Low Calorie Diet (PSMF)

In evaluating a weight loss diet, the key questions are whether it contributes to selective fat loss while maintaining muscle (improvement in lean body mass) and whether it prevents the buildup of dangerous levels of ketones. Medical research has shown diets with less than 800 calories per day can be dangerous for some people over an extended period of time.

Because a weight loss diet is low calorie by definition, vitamin and mineral supplementation is required. Particular importance should be attached to adequacy of potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Weight reduction diets of 1,000 and 1,200 calories per day are provided as examples of mixed food approaches to fat loss. The other diets previously mentioned can also be used as weight loss diets. Poorly balanced protein powders such as collagen based products should be avoided for safety. The protein efficiency ratio (PER) should be at least 2.4 to be a good meal replacement protein supplement.

Sample Menu

Sample Menu Diet: 1,000 Calories


1/2 grapefruit1 slice toasted whole wheat bread
1/2 c skim milk1 tsp margarine or butter


1 apple2 oz sliced turkey breast
Sliced lettuce & tomato1 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 c steamed carrot1 slice whole wheat bread
1/2 c skim milk


2 oz broiled halibut1/2 c brown rice
1/2 c steamed broccoli1/2 banana
1/2 c skim milk2 tsp oil & vinegar dressing
1 cup salad: romaine, or Boston lettuce; sliced carrot, cucumber, mushroom, bell pepper, celery

1/2 c skim milk
3 rye wafers

Sample Menu Diet: 1,200 Calories


1/2 grapefruit1/2 c oatmeal
1/2 c skim milk1 tsp margarine or butter
1 slice toasted whole wheat bread


2 oz sliced turkey breast 2 slice whole wheat bread
Sliced lettuce & tomato1 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 c steamed carrot 1 apple
1/2 c skim milk


3 oz broiled halibut 1/2 c brown rice
1/2 c steamed broccoli1/2 banana
1/2 c skim milk2 tsp oil & vinegar dressing
1 c salad: romaine or Boston lettuce; sliced carrot, cucumber, mushroom, bell pepper, celery

1/2 c skim milk
3 rye wafers
1 pear

Nutrient Content:


Food Exchange List

Bread and Cereal Exchange List: 6 per day


LentilWhole wheat breadSweet potato
CerealsBeans (dried)
GrainsGreen pea
PastasPopcorn (without added fat)


DoughnutsFiber-free breads
CakesFiber-free cereals
PiesFiber-free grains
Fiber-free pastas

Fat Exchange List: 3 per day

Use in very limited quantities

MayonnaiseVegetable Oils


Any rich sauceGravy

Fruit Exchange List: 1,000 calories - 3 per day. 1,200 - 4 per day

Fresh and frozen fruits (preferably whole, as dietary fiber contained therein provides satiety)

Sweetened or dried fruits

Meat and Meat Substitute Exchange List: 5 per day


Any lean meatRicotta - part skim
Lean fishLean shellfish
Egg (hard-boiled)Cottage cheese - 2% fat
Lean poultryMozzarella - part skim


Luncheon meat Smoked or processed meat
MackerelSmoked or processed fish
SalmonFish packed in oil
All cheeses not noted above

Milk Exchange List: 2 per day


Evaporated skim milkYogurt - lowfat plain
Yogurt - lowfat fruit Buttermilk made from milk - 2% fat

All others

Vegetable Exchange List: 2 per day

All fresh, frozen and canned vegetables, both whole and juice


Miscellaneous Exchange List

Homemade soups made from fat-free broth or skim milk

Alcoholic beverages
Any non-diet cola drink

Note: Include 6 to 8 cups of fluids, such as water, per day.

The number of food exchange list units differ, depending on the number calories in the diet.


Blackburn, G.L., G. Bray. Management of Obesity by Severe Caloric Restriction. P.S.G., Littleton, Ma, 1985.

Chicago Dietetic Association and the South Suburban Dietetic Association of Cook and Will counties. 1981. Manual of Clinical Dietetics. W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia.

Committee of Dietetics of the Mayo Clinic. 1971. Mayo Clinic Diet Manual, 4th ed. W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia. 67 pp.

Iowa Dietetics Association. 1984. Simplified Diet Manual: with Meal Patterns, 5th ed. Iowa State University Press; Ames, Iowa. 108 pp.


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