Should I eliminate any food groups when I’m dieting?

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Michaela Ballmann
Nutrition & Dietetics

Absolutely not! Any diets that eliminate entire food groups can lead to nutritional deficiencies after long-term adherence. Rather, It is better to alter the amount and types of foods you eat from the different groups. In order to lose weight, you can reduce the amount of total and saturated fat in your diet, but make sure to include some healthy fats like avocados, nuts, or olive oil in order to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as provide some satiety at your meals. I would also recommend increasing the amount of non-starchy vegetables (basically any vegetable except potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, and corn) at each meal and having 3 pieces of fruit daily. Substituting high-fat meats like bacon, sausage, and deli meats for lean meats or meat substitutes (tofu, tempeh, beans) also help decrease the total amount of fat and Calories you consume in a day.

Alberta Scruggs
Nutrition & Dietetics

Eliminating food groups while attempting to lose weight may result in eliminating essential nutrients your body requires. This is not what you want to do. All nutrients have specific roles/functions in the body, and are necessary to keep the body functioning properly.

A registered/licensed dietitian can assist you with a weight loss meal plan that includes all food groups. The goal is to limit kcalories to make a caloric deficit, not eliminate food groups or nutrients. This is done not by eliminating food groups but by reducing caloric intake.

Serving size recognition (and remaining within daily caloric needs), is key to lifelong weight loss. Why? Because every serving size of food has a kcalorie amount. When eaten, that amount is added to your daily caloric needs (which may be 1,600; 1,800 or 2,000 kcalories). You want to remain within or below that amount. The more you practice doing this, the more familiar and accustomed eating this way becomes. Once that happens, a caloric deficit can occur, and so will weight loss.

Jim White
Nutrition & Dietetics

When dieting, it is not necessary or recommended to eliminate any food groups from your diet. It is actually extremely important to have a balanced diet and simply watch portion sizes. If you are interested in eliminating a certain food group or trying a certain diet, it would be advisable to check with a registered dietitian first. 

Jackie Newgent
Nutrition & Dietetics
There's no need to eliminate any food groups when dieting. In fact, it's more important than ever to obtain good balance and nutrient-density when you're obtaining fewer calories. But there are many ways to approach this. It's possible to meet food group goals while following a vegetarian diet, for instance. Above all, it's best to follow an individualized approach to weight management. A registered dietitian can help provide a personalized plan for you to meet your specific needs and suite your eating style--and lifestyle. Good luck! 

Continue Learning about Dieting For Weight Loss

Dieting For Weight Loss

Dieting For Weight Loss

Losing weight quickly is OK as long as you do it safely, not through a crash diet. You can lose three or more pounds a week by burning more calories than you eat. If you burn an extra 500 calories per day through eating less and i...

ncreasing your physical activity, you can lose about one to two pounds of fat per week. Dietitians recommend a daily minimum of 1,200 calories per day (a 200-pound person might need 1,400 calories). Anything less makes you lose muscle as well as fat, which slows your metabolism. Instead, minimize your intake of starches, added sugars like high fructose corn syrup and animal fat from dairy and meats. Focus on eating fruits and vegetables, soy products, egg whites, skinless poultry breasts, shellfish and fish, nonfat dairy foods and meat that is 95 percent lean. Drink lots of water, don't skip meals, and eat only from a plate while seated at a table.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.