A number of studies have demonstrated that eating less often actually leads to a greater weight loss. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example, found “that the total number of calories that were consumed per day was significantly correlated with weight loss” (1:21). A 2009 review of 20 studies found “eating fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day is associated with a significant, significant weight loss in the short-term” (3:39).
The Bottom Line: It might be easier to eat less if you believe you could be gaining weight if you didn’t have to! (Though, it should be noted, eating fewer than 5 portions per day isn’t enough to do the job without some serious exercise, diet and counseling.)
3. You’re not eating enough.
One study found that “eating less than 5 portions per day” (an average of about 1 to 2 cups of fruits and vegetables per day) was associated with an average weight loss of 10% or more for “a group of overweight women” (3:45).
The Bottom Line: Some evidence suggests that consuming a healthy amount of fruit/vegetables every day might help you lose weight.
4. Your diet has been too low, too low, too low.
A paper published in the British Medical Journal found that consuming 10 to 20 portions of fruits and vegetables per day was associated with a significant weight loss of up to 16 pounds or 8.6% in obese women (9:10).
The Bottom Line: Some studies suggest that the amount of fruit and vegetable intake needs to be higher than 5 portions per day to help you lose weight, but overall, a healthy diet probably doesn’t mean eating less as long as you’re eating more.
5. You have too much junk food.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming less than 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day was associated with an average weight loss of 7% for a group of moderately overweight or obese adults (9:46).
The Bottom Line: Studies have shown that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables might help you lose weight, but it’s likely that a healthy diet likely won’t do the trick.
6. Your diet is too high in fat.
A study published in PLoS One found that “high or variable amounts of saturated fat” in the diet may be associated with a significant increase in weight gain (13:47
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