Nutrition Articles

Nutrition FAQs

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Is it a problem to eat less than my recommended calories each day?

Strange as it sounds, going too low on calories is a common cause of getting stuck at your current weight despite dieting. Your body is designed to protect you from starvation during times of greatly reduced food availability, and when you eat too little, your body thinks it’s starving. To compensate, your metabolism will slow down considerably, making it very difficult (or impossible) for you to lose weight. In this state, your body will preferentially burn everything but your stored body fat. Eating to little poses other problems, such as nutritional deficiencies. On top of that, if you later eat more calories, your body is more likely to store these calories as fat, in preparation for a possible "famine" again in the future.

Your best bet is to aim for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week through combining a moderate calorie reduction with increased calorie expenditure through exercise. If all the info you entered during your program set-up is accurate, the recommended calorie range you received should be what you need to accomplish this healthy rate of weight loss.

Some people have problems eating enough calories when they go too low on fats—especially by always choosing low-fat or non-fat versions of common foods. So try to find some good sources of "healthy fats" (the monounsaturated fat in nuts, olive and canola oils, avocados, etc.), and foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like flaxseed, salmon, or tuna. Read SparkPeople’s Nutrition Reference Guide: Fats and Oils for more information on including healthy fats into your diet.

Are diet pills safe and will they help me lose weight?

Sometimes these pills claim amazing results that sound too good to be true—and that's because they are. There is no "magic pill" that works. Think about it—if there really was one pill that people could take and see amazing results quickly, and with little to no effort, everyone in the world would know about it and probably use it.

Don't waste your money.

Some diet pills work because they usually contain stimulants, such as high doses of caffeine, which speed up your metabolism, making it easier for you to lose weight. These can be addictive, and cause serious health problems such as heart problems, medication interactions, and even death. In addition, as soon as you stop taking them, you’ll likely put all the weight you lost back on.
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