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Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss

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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.

Long-term prescription drugs include: 

  • Qsymia combines the appetite suppressant phentermine with the seizure/migraine drug topiramate. Topiramate causes weight loss in several ways, including increasing feelings of fullness, making foods taste less appealing, and boosting calorie burning.
  • Contrave is a combination of two FDA-approved drugs, naltrexone and bupropion, in an extended-release formula. Naltrexone is approved to treat alcohol and opioid dependence.  Bupropion is approved to treat depression, seasonal affective disorder, and help people stop smoking. 
  • Belviq belongs to a class of drugs known as serotonin receptor agonists. It is thought to work by affecting a certain part of the brain that helps control your appetite.

10. How can I prevent regaining lost weight?

Keep the following tips in mind when losing weight:

  • Set realistic weight loss goals, such as 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Eat fewer calories by cutting down on portions and cutting the total amount of fat you eat to 30% or less of your total daily calories.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand, such as raw vegetables with low-calorie dips, or fruit.
  • Choose foods high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables with moderate portions of whole-grain breads, cereals, and rice. These foods will give you more chewing satisfaction, while the higher fiber content may make you feel fuller on fewer calories.
  • To ensure you are eating healthy, keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat or drink. The food journal will help you learn about your eating habits and notice what food choices you're making.
  • Eat a variety of colorful foods to get all the nutrients you need.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 29, 2014

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