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Weight reduction

A good formula for losing weight

Many people start the new year with New Year’s resolutions. At the top of the list: Lose weight. For many, this is particularly recommendable for health reasons. The ways to a healthy weight
Marta Campbell
13.01.2021  12:30 Uhr

In Germany, as many as a quarter of adults (23 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women) are severely overweight (obese). Others just want to get rid of a few annoying »corona kilos«. Quite a few people start with a strict diet programme ambitiously, but then after a few days the enthusiasm drops and the yo-yo effect sets in. Expert advice at the pharmacy can help you find a strategy tailored to your needs which will prove effective in the long term. Certain foods, medical products or medicines can be supportive.

Effective and proven formula diet products are from providers such as Optifast, Almased or Slimfast, The Healthy Plus Vitalkost or Yokebe Aktivkost. Their composition is defined in the German Dietetic Food Regulation, or Diet Regulation for short. Lars Selig, Master of Education (M.Ed.) and specialist therapist in charge of nutritional medicine at the University Hospital Leipzig, has the following to say in an interview with the PTA-Forum: »These are balanced products with a balanced ratio of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, with certain vitamins and minerals also added.«

Drink instead of a meal

Formula diet products come in different forms. Available are drinks or nutrient powders to be mixed with fluid, and some manufacturers also offer ready-made meals. Doctors usually recommend the products only for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30 kg/m2. Selig explains how the preparations are used: »We recommend that obese people replace all three daily meals with a formula diet for an initial period of five to seven days. This is followed by five to seven days in which two meals are replaced. The third normal meal should consist of a nutrient-rich, balanced diet.« After this phase of more radical calorie reduction, which lasts up to two weeks, severely overweight people should replace only one meal with the diet product. »This diet can be continued for up to twelve weeks. But the long-term goal should be to eat a balanced and calorically appropriate diet with natural foods and normal meals,« says the dietician and nutrition expert.

Plenty of protein satiates

Formula diets facilitate weight reduction for several reasons. Thanks to the high protein content of the products, they are quickly filling and promote muscle building if you train at the same time. However, patients with impaired kidney function, which includes many seniors but also diabetics, should consult their doctor about the high protein intake. Excessive protein intake can possibly put additional strain on their kidneys. It should also be noted that many formula products contain large amounts of sugar or sweeteners and usually also flavourings. The amount of dietary fibre, on the other hand, is low. The often sweet, rather monotonous taste and the almost exclusively liquid or mushy consistency can endanger the user’s adherence. It is important to note that the products are not a permanent solution. »The focus of any weight-reduction programme should be that people change their eating habits in the long term and exercise more«, says Selig. It may be that formula diets do usually lead to fast weight loss. »But without professional support, patients do not learn new eating behaviours, and the yo-yo effect sets in as soon as they stop using the products.«

PTA should give the following advice to patients who want to try these diets: »Formula diets are taken instead of and not in addition to meals. Even though this should go without saying, misunderstandings can arise«, says the expert.

Calorie deficit is essential

If you want to lose weight, you cannot avoid a true, but not too extreme calorie deficit over a longer period of time. At first glance, »light-products« may make this easier. In these versions of food, manufacturers replace calorie carriers such as fat or sugar with low-calorie fat substitutes or sweeteners; sometimes they also increase the water content. To ensure taste and consistency, they use additives such as flavours, taste enhancers or thickeners. Many of these products are not filling like normal foods. They also tempt people to eat more.

For a sustainable weight reduction, people who are overweight should make several adjustments right away: Exercise more, eat more vegetables and fresh foods, cut back on fat, but do not ban any food completely. Many people do well with the 80/20 rule: eat 80 percent healthy and calorie-conscious food and treat yourself to 20 percent of other food. Sufficient sleep and relaxation are still important for a successful weight reduction.

Deutsch/German Englisch/English
Abnehmen lose weight
Ballaststoffe dietary fibres
Diätprodukt diet products
Diätprogramm dietary programme
Entspannung relaxation
Ernährungsweise diet, eating habits
Essverhalten eating behaviour
Fette fats
Flohsamenschalen psyllium husks
Formula-Diät formula diets
Gemüse vegetables
Gewichtsreduktion weight reduction
Kalorienreduktion calorie reduction
Kohlenhydrate carbohydrates
Lebensmittel food
Mahlzeit meal
Nährstoffpulver nutrient powder
Protein protein
Schlaf sleep
Übergewicht overweight

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