Blue Water Healthy Living

Nutrition News: What Really Works

By Charlyn Fargo

Weight loss ranks as one of the top New Year’s resolutions every year. So, here it is, the first week of January, and like most Americans, you probably have it somewhere on your resolutions list.

That’s according to an article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The article looked at a survey of more than 2,000 adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The adults identified themselves through a written survey as those who had tried to lose weight during the past year. Of those, 584 had lost weight and kept it off, while 1,537 had either tried to lose weight and failed or lost weight and then regained it.

Discouraging, right? Only a third were able to successfully lose weight and keep it off. But that one-third was willing to share their secrets for success.

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The researchers asked the adults what strategies they used to lose weight. These included reducing the amount of food they ate, exercising at least 30 minutes per day and eating more fruits and vegetables. Other strategies included using over-the-counter diet products, eating meal-replacement products and eating less carbohydrates. Similarly, they were asked which of six behavioral strategies they used to control their weight in the long term, such as daily weigh-ins, measuring the food they put on their plate and planning their meals.

The researchers found men are more successful than women, and younger men (29 years or younger) were more successful than those 30 or over.

Here are the top strategies for losing, gleaned from those who were successful.

No. 1: Make your portions smaller. Using a smaller plate can be helpful.

No. 2: Reduce the amount of food eaten overall by tracking your calories with an app on your phone so you know how much you’re eating at each meal and snack.

No. 3: Eat more fruits and vegetables. Make at least half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal.

No. 4: Choose fewer fatty foods such as fried chicken, french fries, greasy appetizers, salad dressings and mayonnaise.

No. 5: Give up sweetened beverages such as sodas, sweetened tea, specialty coffees, sports beverages and juices.

No. 6: Add exercise, at least 30 minutes every day. Mix cardio, weightlifting, and both moderate and more strenuous activity.

No. 7: Do little things, and celebrate them. Trust that every small choice helps. If you eat a piece of pie or a cookie, skip the last bite. One less bite is a positive.

Q and A

Q: Are nuts as good as salmon to get your omega-3 fatty acids?

A: Both nuts and fish contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But they aren’t the same. The omega-3s found in nuts are called alpha-linolenic acids, or ALAs. The “heart-healthy” omega-3s found in fish are eicosapentaenoic acids, EPAs, and docosahexaenoic acids, DHAs. We need ALAs, EPAs and DHAs. To get them, eat both fish and nuts. Just like fruits and vegetables, each food can offer different nutritional benefits. Choose plenty of variety in your meals.


If you’re looking to balance out your red meat with poultry, try these turkey burgers. They’re from Taste of Home. Adding canned black beans boosts moisture, fiber and flavor.


Servings: 4
1 cup canned black beans, fiesta style
1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground turkey
4 hamburger buns, split
4 lettuce leaves
4 slices tomato

In a large bowl, coarsely mash beans. Stir in the breadcrumbs, egg white, chili powder, salt and pepper. Crumble the turkey over mixture, and mix well. Shape into 4 patties. In a large, greased cast-iron or other heavy skillet, cook patties over medium heat until 165 degrees F, about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Serve patties on buns with lettuce and tomato.

Per burger: 445 calories; 27 grams protein; 40 grams carbohydrates; 20 grams fat (6 grams saturated); 77 milligrams cholesterol; 4 grams fiber; 789 milligrams sodium.

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with SIU Med School in Springfield, Illinois. For comments or questions, contact her at or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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