Eating Habits of Successful Weight Losers Shift

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Successful Weight Loss

A recent study suggests that the fat intake of successful weight losers entering the National Weight Control Registry has increased over the past decade, while carbohydrate intake has declined. This is the finding of a research paper appearing in the April 2006 issue of Obesity Research by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School, and University of Colorado.

The National Weight Control Registry is a national study tracking individuals who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept if off for at least one year. On average, the nearly 5,000 members in the Registry have far exceeded these requirements, losing over 70 pounds and keeping the weight off for nearly six years.

"Our findings suggest that to successfully maintain weight loss, dieters may be able to vary their diet over time," says Suzanne Phelan, PhD, lead author of the study, staff psychologist at The Miriam Hospital and assistant professor at Brown Medical School. "When the National Weight Control Registry was created 10 years ago, members reported consuming a low-calorie, very low-fat diet and engaging in high levels of physical activity to maintain weight loss - what we wanted to determine in this study is whether the eating and exercise habits of participants enrolling in the Registry had changed over the past decade."

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Researchers studied the dieting behaviors of the more than 2700 individuals who enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry during the years 1995 to 2003. Evaluations of diet and physical activity were conducted as participants entered the Registry and were monitored over intermittent periods of one year.

"We found that participants who enrolled in the Registry in more recent years, reported consuming an increased number of calories from fat, and fewer carbohydrates compared to those who enrolled in 1995," says Phelan.

From 1995 to 2003 - the daily percentage of calories consumed from fat increased from 23.8 percent to 29.4 percent, while calories from carbohydrates decreased from 56 percent to 49.3 percent. In addition, saturated fat intake in Registry participants increased from 12.3 grams per day to 16.6 grams per day in later years.

"Despite the increase in fat intake, the consumption of fat that the participants reported in later years continued to remain within recommended levels and well below the national average," explains Phelan. "However, potentially more troubling is the increase in saturated fat intake

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