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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dietary Weight Loss Advice in US Health Magazines and its Relation to Ancestral Diet

  • Author(s): Stein, Risa J.
  • et al.

As rates of overweight and obesity have risen in the US, the public has sought effective strategies for weight loss through dietary modification. A proliferation of processed foods and changing governmental nutrition guidelines have both impacted dietary intake patterns. While physicians are considered respectable sources of weight-loss information, increasingly the public has turned to the media, particularly magazines, for weight loss advice. This study investigated the dietary recommendations found in the five leading US health-related magazines and compared those recommendations to ancestral diets. With a couple notable exceptions, leading health magazines present consistent recommendations for dietary modifications to promote weight loss including reduction of caloric, sodium, carbohydrate, and fat intake. In many regards the prescriptions are aligned with an evolutionary diet. Acknowledgment and clarification of ancestral diet practices in popular magazines may promote increased compliance and sustained weight loss.

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