In her letter she said: “I am sure that you want to promote a healthy lifestyle for your readers but at this time of year in particular far too much magazine coverage tends to focus on irresponsible, short- term solutions and encourages readers to jump on fad diet bandwagons.
“As editors you owe more to your readers than the reckless promotion of unhealthy solutions to losing weight. If your aim is to give practical, sensible advice about losing weight - and not how to drop a stone in five days - you should encourage reasonable expectations, instead of dangerous ones, along with exercise and healthy eating.”
How can I make healthier food choices?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) offer tips for healthy eating in Dietary Guidelines for All Americans.
Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruits - fresh, frozen, canned, or dried - rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you will need 2 cups of fruit each day. An example of 2 cups is 1 small banana, 1 large orange, and 1/4 cup of dried apricots or peaches.
Vary your veggies. Eat more:
dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens
orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash
beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils
Get your calcium-rich foods. Each day, drink 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk. Or, you can get an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese each day. 1.5 ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk. If you don’t or can’t consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and drinks.
Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta each day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as “whole” in the list of ingredients.
Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
Limit saturated fats. Get less than 10 percent of your calories from saturated fatty acids. Most fats should come from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. When choosing and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.
Limit salt. Get less than 2,300 mg of sodium (about 1 teaspoon of salt) each day.
What surgical options are used to treat obesity?
Weight loss surgeries — also called bariatric (bair-ee-AT-rik) surgeries — can help treat obesity. You should only consider surgical treatment for weight loss if you:
Have a BMI of 40 or higher
Have a BMI of 35 or higher and weight-related health problems
Have not had success with other weight-loss methods
Common types of weight loss surgeries are:
Roux-en-Y (ROO-en-WEYE) gastric bypass. The surgeon uses surgical staples to create a small stomach pouch. This limits the amount of food you can eat. The pouch is attached to the middle part of the small intestine. Food bypasses the upper part of the small intestine and stomach, reducing the amount of calories and nutrients your body absorbs.
Laparoscopic (LAP-uh-ruh-SKAWP-ik) gastric banding. A band is placed around the upper stomach to create a small pouch and narrow passage into the rest of the stomach. This limits the amount of food you can eat. The size of the band can be adjusted. A surgeon can remove the band if needed.
Biliopancreatic (bil-ee-oh-pan-kree-at-ik) diversion (BPD) or BPD with duodenal (doo-AW-duh-nul) switch (BPD/DS). In BPD, a large part of the stomach is removed, leaving a small pouch. The pouch is connected to the last part of the small intestine, bypassing other parts of the small intestine. In BPD/DS, less of the stomach and small intestine are removed. This surgery reduces the amount of food you can eat and the amount of calories and nutrients your body absorbs from food. This surgery is used less often than other types of surgery because of the high risk of malnutrition.
If you are thinking about weight-loss surgery, talk with your doctor about changes you will need to make after the surgery. You will need to:
Follow your doctor’s directions as you heal
Make lasting changes in the way you eat
Follow a healthy eating plan and be physically active
Take vitamins and minerals if needed
You should also talk to your doctor about risks and side effects of weight loss surgery. Side effects may include:
Leaking from staples
Blood clots in the leg veins that travel to your lungs (Pulmonary embolism)
Dumping syndrome, in which food moves from your stomach to your intestines too quickly
Not getting enough vitamins and minerals from food
Andrew Sparrow, political correspondent