Article contributed by Mayo Clinic staff, Madelynn Strong, Registered Dietician
Maintaining a healthy body weight can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer – including post-menopausal breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer. With so many different types of diets for weight loss, how do you choose the right one for you? Remember, there is no single diet plan that works for all individuals. It’s important to find a plan that works for your lifestyle!
Before starting any weight loss plan, consider checking in with your physician. Your physician may want to review your medical history and assist with providing guidance on the program best suited for you. Additionally, they may want to discuss strategies on how to best incorporate safe physical activity into your routine. Consider asking your physician for a referral to a registered dietitian for additional support.
When selecting a diet, consider the following questions:
What Are the Options?
Use the following chart to compare various diet plans:
Remember, there is no single plan that works for all individuals. However, a few balanced diet plans that you might consider are the DASH diet, Flexitarian diet, Mediterranean diet and the WW program (formerly the Weight Watchers program). These are nutritionally balanced diets that emphasize lifestyle changes and are consistent with nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention.
DASH diet: Nutritionally complete diet, designed to control high blood pressure and support heart health but it is also compatible with cancer prevention guidelines.
Mediterranean diet: Primarily a plant focused diet with limited amounts of fish, poultry, healthy fats and low fat dairy. This diet is routinely ranked #1 as a top diet for health.
Flexitarian diet (semi-vegetarian): Emphasizes plant foods but allows small amounts of meat, poultry and fish. This can be great choice for people who do not want to give up meat.
WW (Formerly Weight Watchers): One of the best commercial weight loss programs. On this plan, no foods are forbidden and healthy foods are prioritized.
The Keys to Success
The key to successful weight loss is developing long-term changes to our food and exercise habits. If a diet makes you feel deprived of your favorite foods or if it leaves you feeling hungry, it may not viable long-term. Make sure your goals are realistic, aim for a weight loss of about ½ to 2 pounds per week. Also, engage the help of family members and friends – they can help keep you motivated! Finally, consider meeting with a registered dietitian for personalized guidance and support on your weight loss journey.