Health Watch -- A thinner New Year? (part 1)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the  Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Will this be the year you keep your resolution to lose weight?

If you're like a lot of Americans, every year you resolve to lose weight, and then you forget about it by February.
You start with a lot of enthusiasm to try the latest diet trend, but slip back into your old habits quickly enough. With the help of nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, we'll covre weight-loss strategies in Healthwatch.

You may have noticed that books offering weight-loss advice top the bestseller lists. Weight loss is big business. Recommendations range from eliminating certain kinds of foods to understanding your emotional cues that cause you to eat. How do you know which one of these is best?

Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian who teaches clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern, says the current popular diets all have their pros and cons. They generally do allow people to lose weight, especially in the early phases. But some of these diets recommend eating patterns that may not be beneficial in the long term.

Here's what to look out for: A healthy weight loss is a pound or two a week. Much more than that, especially in the first week of a diet, is probably water loss. Be wary of a diet that promises an ongoing high rate of weight loss. Balance and moderation are important. Be cautious about a diet that eliminates or encourages an entire category of foods without considering distinctions within that category. For example, your body does need some carbohydrates, and many nutrient-rich foods contain carbohydrates, so you don't want to eliminate them entirely.