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Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss


A weight cycle can range from small weight losses and gains (5-10 pound per cycle) to large changes in weight (50 pounds or more per cycle).

Some experts believe that weight cycling may be harmful to your health. Yo-yo dieters often regain fat instead of muscle, which can slow down weight loss efforts in the future. Some believe that staying at one weight is better than weight cycling, even for people who are obese. But that's not been proven.

7. How do I spot a fad diet?

Watch for warning signs like these:

  • Promises of quick weight loss
  • Claims that sound too good to be true
  • Oversimplifying complex research
  • Recommendations based on a single study
  • Dramatic statements that scientific organizations reject
  • Recommendations made to help sell a weight loss product
  • Diets based on studies published without review by other researchers
  • Eliminating one or more of the five food groups

8. If I'm working on losing weight, should I cut all fat out of my diet?

No. A certain amount of fat in the diet is good and necessary to be healthy. But nutrition experts agree that most Americans should eat less fat than they do. When you eat fat, make sure you mainly choose unsaturated fat, such as fat that comes from nuts, grains, and vegetable sources like olive oil.

9. What prescription drugs are used to treat obesity?

Currently, most available weight loss medications approved by the FDA are for short-term use, meaning a few weeks or months.

Many weight-loss medications are "appetite suppressant" drugs. These weight loss drugs generally come in the form of tablets or extended-release capsules (pills that release medication over a long period of time). Some appetite suppressants need a doctor's prescription. One of the most well-known appetite suppressants is phentermine.

Another type of prescription weight loss drug is a fat absorption inhibitor. Xenical is the only example of this type of treatment approved for use in the U.S. Xenical works by blocking about 30% of dietary fat from being absorbed. Xenical is now sold over the counter, in a lower dose, as Alli.

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