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Experts' Best Diet Tips for Weight Loss

Diet and nutrition experts reveal their top 10 diet tips and tricks.
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Hoping to lose a few pounds in time for bathing suit season -- and tired of all the hype about "miracle" weight loss cures? To help you get answers about what really works for weight loss, WebMD turned to eight noted diet and nutrition experts for their own favorite diet tips.  

Here are their top 10 diet tips and tricks for weight loss success:

Expert Diet Tip No. 1: Never Go More Than 3-4 Hours Without Food.

Eating several times throughout the day helps keep hunger at bay while keeping your energy up, experts say.

"Fight the battle of the bulge by filling up with smaller meals featuring protein and fiber that are spaced evenly throughout the day," says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, a nutrition consultant who has written several books on diet and nutrition.

If the mini-meal approach doesn’t appeal, plan a healthy snack between lunch and dinner so you don't get too hungry at night. "A midday snack gives you energy to finish your work day and hit the gym on your way home," says Pamela Peeke, MD, Discovery Health TV chief medical correspondent for nutrition and fitness.  

And, what makes a healthy snack? "The key is to include protein and not rely on carbs alone, like pretzels and a piece of fruit," Peeke says.

Some good choices:

  • Half a turkey wrap.
  • Low-fat peanut butter on a thick multigrain cracker.
  • Non-fat Greek-style yogurt with a few ounces of nuts.
  • Two pieces of low-fat string cheese with a piece of fruit

Expert Diet Tip No. 2: Eat More Whole Foods.

"In general, the less processed a food is, the slower it takes to digest, and the longer it keeps you feeling satisfied and full," says pediatrician David Ludwig, MD, author of Ending the Food Fight.

For example, an apple is more filling than an equal amount of applesauce, and applesauce is more filling than apple juice...

Expert Diet Tip No. 3: Don't Give Up Your Favorite Foods.

If you allow yourself occasional indulgences, you are less likely to feel deprived -- and more likely to stick with your diet.

Studies show that people who eat the healthiest overall are those who allow themselves some indulgences, says Dean Ornish, MD, author of The Spectrum and founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif.,

"What matters most is your overall way of eating and living," Ornish says.

So go ahead and enjoy your favorite foods -- but do it in moderation, keeping an eye on portion size. And if you overindulge one day, just eat more healthfully the next day.

Expert Diet Tip No. 4: Avoid Late-Night Feasting.

"Late-night feasting is the Achilles heel for dieters and it often happens because workouts push back mealtimes," Peeke says.

So, 30-60 minutes before your early evening workout, have a healthy snack that will give you energy and keep you from being ravenous when you get home. Think fruit or veggies plus lean protein, like a fruit smoothie with protein powder

And, don't overdo a late dinner. "The later the time, the lighter your meal needs to be, especially if you are over age 40," says Peeke, author of Fight Fat After Forty. She suggests leaving an hour to an hour and a half after finishing your meal before going to bed to allow for proper digestion.

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