The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend fruit as part of a healthy, five-food group diet.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend fruit as part of a healthy, five-food group diet.

Revealed: Five easy ways to lose weight

FROM Mediterranean to 5:2, Atkins to Paleo, there are so many diets available to choose from these days it's often hard to pick one we think will work.

However, Northern Rivers Dietetics accredited practising dietitian Carolyn Davis says the answer is simple.

"Really and truly it comes down to the five food groups, the right quantity and the quality of food," she said.

"There's nothing special about maintaining a healthy weight. It's being sensible, reading labels, looking for the five star ratings - it's all out there."

Reducing your daily kilojoule count versus the 5:2 diet

A study by Austin Health and the University of Melbourne found the average weight loss after six months on a standard kilojoule reduction diet was 5.5kg.

It also found those on the popular 5:2 diet lost on average 5.3kg, showing both diets worked in the short-term.

Researcher Margie Conley said the study was conducted over six months in randomised 24 obese male war veterans aged 55-75.

"Interestingly, weight loss slowed at the three-month mark for both groups, which was when the dietitian follow-up tapered out, showing support may be the key element in continuing success," Ms Conley said.

The 5:2 diet involves eating only 2500 kilojoules on two non-consecutive days a week and then eating normally on the other five days.

On a normal day, adults should eat around 8700kj a day.

Other diets

Ms Davis said she recommended a balanced five food group diet, based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

The five food groups:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat

She also recommended a low GI diet.

Low GI foods are slowly digested and therefore keep you fuller for longer.

They include wholegrains, legumes, many fruits such as apples and oranges and most vegetables.

High GI foods have the opposite effect. They include foods such as white bread, potatoes and short-grain race.

The 'no-no' diets

Ms Davis said to be careful of fad diets because they were difficult to sustain.

"The one that's really being pushed right now is the Paleo diet," she said.

According to the Dietitians Association of Australia website, detox diets were particularly dangerous.

"Detox diets claim to flush toxins from your body, leading to more energy and weight loss, promising amazing results in a limited amount of time," the website explained.

"When it comes down to the scientific evidence, detox diets fall short and could potentially cause more harm than good.

"The answer to feeling more energised and healthy is to cut down on 'extras' such as alcohol, sugar-sweetened drinks (such as soft drinks) and foods high in saturated fat, added salt and sugars."

Exercise daily

Ms Davis recommended we aim for 10,000 or more steps each day.

"If you're in an office job, maybe before you get into work park two blocks away and walk," she suggested.

"And if you can get up every now and again and do a few laps, or instead of sending emails just go over and talk to your colleagues."