What nutritional requirements should I consider to maintain or lose weight?

Dede Bonner
Health Education
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) describes standard recommendations for a person’s intake of essential nutrients to maintain a normal weight and a healthy body. These requirements vary widely based on gender, age, body size, and amount of physical activity.

Many people focus on daily calorie counts, which is a good start but ultimately insufficient for long-term nutritional health. To learn more about how to count your calories for weight loss, see the Calorie Control Council’s Web site. If you have only a minimum knowledge about nutrition, ask your doctor or a dietitian for more guidance.
Kodi Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

Many people who follow a low-calorie diet to lose weight find it difficult to get the recommendation of all the vitamins and minerals. Often a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement can help fill in those gaps. Consulting with a registered dietitian (RD) or your primary care physician to analyze your diet can help you determine if your diet is meeting nutritional guidelines. Your doctor or dietitian may tweak the diet in order to meet your needs or may recommend a supplement.

Alberta Scruggs
Nutrition & Dietetics

Nutritional requirements during weight loss or weight maintenance should always include your daily nutrient needs. There is nothing "charming or attractive" about being thin and unhealthy.

Depending on age and gender, we all need a specific amount of nutrients. For instance, a female aged 18 requires 1,300 milligrams of calcium and 15 micrograms of vitamin D a day, while a male aged 55 requires 1,000 milligram of calcium and 15 micrograms of vitamn D a day for optimal bone and teeth health. If for any reason, those amounts are omitted from the daily diet during a weight loss/maintenance program, weight loss may occur but so will a calcium and vitamin D deficiency. If the deficiency is not corrected, health-related conditions may occur.

Jim White
Nutrition & Dietetics
When considering weight loss and maintenance you should remember to have a diet low is fats, sugars, and sodium. It is also important to incorporate whole grains, proteins, and fibers into your diet as well. If you are an individual who likes to drink soda you should start replacing that with water. Green tea is also a healthy option. 
Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Reducing calories in your diet is an effective way for most people to lose weight. Long term healthy weight maintenance for vitality and to prevent chronic disease is best achieved with a steady nutrient dense diet plan including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, proteins including lean meat, nuts, legumes, beans, soy or dairy and reduced saturated fat, sodium and sugar in packaged and processed foods.

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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.