If you want to lose weight, trying one of the latest fad diets to lower BMI might put you in an unhealthy situation. Having a well-balanced diet that you can actually follow remains your best option. Learning more about ways to decrease your BMI will help you make wise choices.
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Easy Diets to Lower BMI
The best diet is one you can adhere to, according to a September 2014 report in JAMA. These researchers looked at 48 studies testing 7,286 people and evaluating programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and about 10 others.
The authors put these programs into three categories: (1) low-carbohydrate diet, (2) low-fat diet and (3) moderate-macronutrient diet. Results indicated that any low-carbohydrate diet or low-fat diet caused significant weight loss. The authors found very little differences between the individual programs, so they believe that greater compliance led to the best results.
Thus, it's important to find a diet you can follow on a day-to-day basis. In the September 2014 report, the authors consistently found side effects like constipation, headaches and rash in studies testing the Atkins diet. Other factors decreasing compliance include diets that cause carbohydrate cravings and ones that recommend culturally challenging options.
Because of the latter problems, the author of an August 2013 paper in JAMA suggested ending the search for an ideal diet. Instead, they suggested behavior-modification techniques focused on adherence.
Read more: What to Eat to Feel Better — Inside and Out
Lower Your BMI With Exercise
Instead of checking a BMI diet chart for weight loss, you can pursue other options. After all, there are at least seven ways to lower your BMI. Doing resistance exercises like weightlifting offers you a great alternative to radically changing your diet. The amazing thing about resistance training is that you have complete control of the results. If you do the workouts, your body will positively respond to it.
The writers of a May 2015 report in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association showed that everyone in a large sample of older adults showed increases in muscle fiber size, muscle mass and strength after doing resistance exercises. In general, your body will respond according to a dose-response curve. The more training you do, the greater gains you will experience. It is, however, important to get enough rest between workouts to avoid burnout and injury.
Exercise can also play a complementary role. The writers of a May 2017 report in Advances in Nutrition concluded that doing exercise was necessary to keep your muscle mass during weight loss.
These researchers recommended either resistance or endurance exercise for keeping muscle mass, but only resistance exercise for increasing your strength while cutting calories. They also suggested that you get enough — but not too much — protein during such a challenge.
The U.S. government now recommends 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram you weigh, according to June 2019 article from Harvard Health Publishing.
Blood Pressure and BMI
Resistance training offers you many other benefits as well. For example, the authors of a May 2013 report in the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that it can help you lower your blood pressure. These researchers found both immediate and delayed effects of resistance training in 13 middle-aged women.
The exercises decreased blood pressure right after the workout, and they decreased it throughout the next 24 hours. The authors believed that exercise affected both the participants' biological timing system and their heart.
Making dietary changes can also gradually decrease your blood pressure. The writers of an April 2014 paper in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that adopting a vegetarian diet gives you a non-drug way to lower blood pressure. Such diets focus on avoiding meat, but they often include dairy products, fish and eggs.
These diets can help you lose weight as well, according to a January 2016 report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. These researchers tested 1,151 subjects and found that people following a vegetarian diet without cutting their calories for 18 weeks lost more weight than those on a conventional diet.
- JAMA: "Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults"
- JAMA: "Call for the End to the Diet Debates"
- Journal of the American Medical Directors Association: "There Are No Nonresponders to Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Older Men and Women"
- Advances in Nutrition: "Preserving Healthy Muscle During Weight Loss"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day?"
- International Journal of Sports Medicine: "Acute Effects of Resistance Exercise on 24-h Blood Pressure in Middle Aged Overweight and Obese Women"
- JAMA Internal Medicine: "Vegetarian Diets and Blood Pressure"
- Journal of General Internal Medicine: "Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction"