Keeping a Food Diary Doubles Weight Loss

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss according to a study from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. Funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the study is one of the few studies to recruit a large percentage of African Americans as study participants (44 percent). African Americans have a higher risk of conditions that are aggravated by being overweight, including diabetes and heart disease. In addition to keeping food diaries, participants were asked to follow a heart-healthy DASH (a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat or non-fat dairy, attend weekly group sessions and exercise at moderate intensity levels for at least 30 minutes a day.

  • The majority of African American participants lost at least nine pounds of weight, which is higher than in previous studies.
  • After six months of the DASH diet, the average weight loss among the nearly 1,700 participants was approximately 13 pounds. More than two-thirds of the participants (69 percent) lost at least nine pounds, enough to reduce their health risks and qualify for the second phase of the study, which lasted 30 months and tested strategies for maintaining the weight loss.

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