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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds HELEN TRUBY: An adult’s energy balance works by simply, the arithmetic between energy in and energy out. So energy that we have from our food and our drink is obviously energy in. That needs to balance the amount of energy we’re actually expending in activity. So our bodies also use a basic amount of energy every day. There are numerous studies around that have tested various different diets, and the answer is they all perform reasonably well. The challenging aspect is ensuring that you can maintain that dietary pattern over a period of time, so you can keep that lost weight off. Recent popularity in terms of diets has been modified fasting.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds So in other words, not eating on certain times of the day, or whatever. And again, if that’s a mechanism whereby people find that they can manage their weight, then well and good. The only issue is around diet quality– in other words, nutrient density. So if you’re going to skip a couple of meals twice a week or three times a week, you need to make sure that you’re going to get your micronutrients that you need that you’re going to miss out on, simply by not eating later on in your diet– particularly important for women, in our iron requirements. Particularly important for women of childbearing age as well, if you’re planning a pregnancy.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds So there are elements of lifestyle as well that’s important. And picking something that you’re going to be able to stick to. But in all honesty, most of them will work for you as long as you reduce your overall energy intake. You will lose weight. That’s physiologically the way it sits. So activity, whether it comes in the form of walking, standing, running, anything like that, it’s going to burn energy. So that adds to our energy out equation. And one of the issues that we have largely in our society now is that people are very sedentary. So we don’t do a lot of physical activity everyday. And the more sedentary we are, really the less energy we actually need to have.

Skip to 2 minutes and 14 seconds Because we simply don’t burn up enough energy.

Is dieting the answer?

Watch Helen talk about the way our bodies use energy, dieting and maintaining a dietary pattern to manage weight.

Talking point

You’ve explored food the relationship between our food intake and our weight, dieting and weight prevention. It’s now your turn to reflect and share your thoughts with other learners.

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners your thoughts on food and weight as well as your responses to the following questions:

  • What has been your experience with diets and weight loss?

  • Which diets have you tried and have they been effective?

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Food as Medicine

Monash University

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