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Answers to Your Questions about Weight Loss Programs

Answers to Your Questions about Weight Loss Programs

Table of Contents

What’s the difference between a diet and a weight loss program?
How do weight loss programs work?
What is the best weight loss program?
Which weight loss program will work for me?
Are online weight loss programs effective?
Are there weight loss programs without surgery?
Does insurance cover weight loss programs?
Which weight loss programs are for beginners?
Which weight loss programs are for type 2 diabetics?
Are there weight loss programs for busy moms?
Which are the best weight loss programs for athletes?
What if I have more questions?

For many of us, losing weight is a little like the movie Groundhog Day. We wake up on a Monday and decide to start a diet. We’re going to cut out carbs, forgo wine with dinner, crush it in the gym, and never, ever eat ice cream again.  

And by Friday, we’ve given up. It’s been a stressful week. We need that glass of wine, those carbs, and that ice cream. And who has time for the gym?

Another diet ends in disaster. You’ll try again next week, maybe.

We’ve all been there. Losing weight is hard. In fact, most statistics show it’s nearly impossible to lose weight through dieting alone.

And that’s where weight loss programs come in. A serious weight loss program can make the difference between another diet disappointment and “success, at last!”

What’s the difference between a diet and a weight loss program?

The best way to illustrate the difference between a diet and a weight loss program is to use a food analogy.


Dieting is like trying to make an extremely complex dish ― something like eggs benedict of macarons ― by following a recipe.

The most effective weight loss program, on the other hand, is like an in-depth course, designed and taught by a world-class culinary arts instructor, on how to make the dish.  

Which approach do you think will be more successful?

Studies show people are both more likely to stick with a weight loss program and lose more weight when using a weight loss program compared to dieting alone.

Weight loss programs provide two elements that dieting on your own lacks:

  • Structure ― A good weight loss program provides you with a step-by-step, day-by-day personalized plan for reaching your goals.
  • Support ― The best weight loss program also will include personalized coaching to guide you through challenges and keep you accountable and motivated.

Now that we’ve seen the benefits of a weight loss program, let’s look at how and when weight loss programs work.

How do weight loss programs work?

To a great extent, all weight loss is ultimately a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned. When you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight, and when you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight.

So, all of the best healthy weight loss programs work based on the same basic premise: You must create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.

You can create a calorie deficit in three ways:

  1. Take in fewer calories while maintaining your current exercise routine and activity level
  2. Increase your exercise and activity to burn more calories while eating the same diet
  3. Combine a restricted-calorie diet with increased exercise to maximize weight loss

So, the simplest answer to “How do weight loss programs work?” is: by helping people create a calorie deficit that is sufficient to produce weight loss.

Beyond that, however, weight loss diet programs vary as widely as fingerprints and snowflakes in terms of the specific approach they employ to create a calorie deficit ― the program’s individual philosophy and macronutrient targets.

So, let’s break this into two separate questions: “How does weight loss work?” (the universal strategy behind all weight loss); and “How do weight loss programs work?” (the specific tactics weight loss programs use to achieve the strategy).

We will look at each topic individually.

1) How does weight loss work?

As we’ve already noted, all weight loss works on a recipe of calories in versus calories out.

For many years, there was a relatively simple mathematical formula for weight loss that many dieters know well.

Based on a paper by Dr. Max Wishnofsky in 1958 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it posited that a person had to burn around 3,500 calories more than they took in to lose one pound of body weight.

For most of the 50 years that followed, it was widely accepted that a person could lose about one pound per week by cutting an extra 500 calories per day from their diet, since 500 calories a day times seven days equals 3,500 calories.

However, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have recently concluded that the 3,500-calorie formula doesn’t work.

Something told them the formula was flawed when they reviewed decades of anecdotal evidence that dieters following the formula were not losing weight at the rate promised.

So, the NIH enlisted the help of mathematician Kevin Hall, who revised the formula to account for “metabolic adaptation,” changes in how the human body burns calories ― slowing metabolism ― as it adapts to dieting and exercise.

“The biggest flaw with the 500-calorie rule is that it assumes weight loss will continue in a linear fashion over time,” Hall told Runner’s World. “That’s not the way the body responds. The body is a very dynamic system, and a change in one part of the system always produces changes in other parts.”

According to Hall’s calculations, a person has to cut or burn closer to 7,000 calories to produce a pound of weight loss.

The National Institutes of Health even used Hall’s findings to create a Body Weight Planner food and activity tool to help dieters see how many calories they should eat per day to reach their weight loss goals based on their current weight and exercise routine.

It is accompanied by a SuperTracker tool that provides a personalized meal plan based on your calorie results from the Body Weight Planner.

“I suppose some people will be bummed out,” Hall said of the higher number of calories required to make weight loss programs work. “But we believe it’s better to have an accurate assessment of what you might lose.”

The more accurate number also may help dieters have the realistic expectations and patience needed to stick with a nutrition program for weight loss for the long-term so it has a chance to work, no matter how long it takes to reach their goals.

Now that we’ve seen how weight loss works, let’s take a take a look at how specific weight loss diet programs work.

2) How do weight loss programs work?

As mentioned above, even though all weight loss is based on the same strategy (creating a calorie deficit), different weight loss food programs use a wide range of philosophies and features to create the deficit, as well as macronutrient targets ― the nutritional mix they believe will best produce effective weight loss.

Here’s a review of how some popular at home weight loss programs work:

Weight Watchers

  • Foods and beverages are assigned point values based on their nutritional merits
  • Members count points and stick to a daily target based on their gender, weight, height and age
  • Members choose from an online-only program, or upgrade, for an additional cost, with meetings and/or personal coaching


  • Some foods are restricted, including sugars and simple carbohydrates such as white bread, potatoes and rice
  • Members buy food from the program, including low-carb meal kits, frozen meals, shakes, bars, treats and fresh meal ingredients


  • Some foods are restricted; allowed foods include lean protein, high-fiber foods and low-glycemic carbs
  • Members eat six times a day ― a small meal or snack every two to three hours
  • Members buy food from the program, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks


  • No foods are off limits; instead, the program emphasizes smart choices and healthy food swaps
  • Up to several days a week, on “Eat-Less Days,” customers eat only about one-third of their typical daily caloric intake
  • To avoid metabolic reset (where metabolism slows down in response to lower calorie consumption), customers enjoy at least one normal eating day between Eat-Less Days
  • Lovidia Hunger-Control Supplements, bars and hearts reduce hunger and cravings to improve program adherence
  • All customers receive personalized coaching as an included feature

As you can see from just these few examples, there are both similarities in the way the highest rated weight loss programs work as well as significant differences.

Other weight loss diet programs such as Jenny Craig, Slim-Fast, Medifast, BistroMD and the South Beach Diet follow the basic formula of calorie reduction, but each program also offers unique features such as packaged foods, nutrition education, and coaching.

The same is true of doctor weight loss programs. There are literally thousands of weight loss clinics across the country, including physicians weight loss programs, that follow the basic weight loss recipe of balanced nutrition, calorie restriction and regular exercise to create a calorie deficit but vary in the specific tactics they use.

What is the best weight loss program?

Everybody’s body is unique, so the weight loss program that works for your best friend or your sister may not work for you.

As Alexandra Sifferlin writes in Time, “Individual responses to different diets ― from low fat and vegan to low carb and paleo ― vary enormously,” adding that “… scientists are showing that the key to weight loss appears to be highly personalized.”

So, rather than asking what’s the best weight loss program, the better question is, “Which weight loss program will work for me?” And that’s exactly the question we’ll help you answer in the next section.

Having said that, though, there are certain elements that any successful weight loss program should have.

The most effective weight loss program:

  • Sets realistic expectations ― striving for a supermodel body is a surefire way to suffer a letdown
  • Is simple and easy to stick with ― if a program seems too complex, it is
  • Uses nutritional science, not “willpower” ― any program that forces you to constantly fight hunger is doomed to fail
  • Focuses on your overall health and lifestyle habits, not just what you eat
  • Stresses the role of sleep, stress management and daily exercise in weight loss and management
  • Offers coaching, motivation and support to help you past obstacles and plateaus
  • Has proven results

Since this is a broad topic, we cover each of these points and more in much greater detail in a dedicated post titled, “What is the best weight loss program?” Give it a read!

Which weight loss program will work for me?

In many ways, answering the question, “Which weight loss program will work for me?” depends as much on you than the program itself.

According to Frank Sacks, a weight loss researcher and professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Some people on a diet program lose 60 pounds and keep it off for two years, and other people follow the same program religiously, and they gain 5 pounds.”

That’s why the “best weight loss program for me” is one that treats you as an individual and accounts for personal factors such as your health, your activity level, and your likes and dislikes.

Ask yourself these questions when considering a weight loss program:

How much weight do I want to lose?

The more clear you are about your goals, the more targeted your program can be in helping you get there. And the more targeted the program is, the more likely you are to reach your goals.

How long will it take?

When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race every time. Studies have shown people who lose too much weight, too quickly, almost always gain the weight back. Choose a program that fits your timeframe for reaching your goals.

That’s why the LOVIDIA Way stresses gradual, sustainable weight loss ― 1 to 2 pounds per week (though your weight loss may be faster at the start of a program) or 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight within 3 months.

Am I physically able to do a weight loss program?

Ask your doctor to review any medical conditions you have or medications you are taking that might impact your results or be affected by the requirements of the weight loss program. The best weight loss program is always the safest weight loss program.

What level of support will be best for me?

No matter which weight loss program you choose, you are going to run into obstacles. There will be work and family stress that drains motivation, plateaus that cause frustration, and holiday get-togethers filled with temptations.

Choosing a program like The LOVIDIA Way that includes personal coaching will assure that you have the support and motivation you need to make it through rough patches.

Is it a program you can live with?

Be honest with yourself about your food preferences and your willingness to adjust your eating habits. A weight loss program shouldn’t seem like punishment.

Beware of programs that force you to starve yourself, give up your favorite foods, eat packaged foods for months on end, or eat foods you don’t like.

The same goes for exercise. If a program pushes you to exercise too hard, you’ll spend every minute of it dreaming about quitting … until you do quit.

How much time do I have for a weight loss program?

Some weight loss programs are time consuming. They may require you to spend time counting points, measuring portions, or learning a whole new way of cooking.

When asking “Which weight loss program will work for me?” think about how much time you can commit in your day, every day, for the work involved with a particular weight loss program.

In general, the simpler a program is, the less burden it is on your time, the more likely you are to stick with it. The most effective weight loss program is one that’s easiest to fit into your life.

Are online weight loss programs effective?

The Internet is chock full of tools and information that empowers people to lose weight, including access to great online weight loss programs like The LOVIDIA Way.

Online weight loss programs offer features like grocery lists, recipes, week-by-week meal plans, articles on fitness and nutrition, live support, and even one-on-one counseling and coaching. Best of all, you can do a weight loss program at home!

We cover the benefits of online weight loss programs in greater detail in this dedicated post about online weight loss programs.

Are there weight loss programs without surgery?

Of course there are weight loss programs without surgery!

For most people, weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, is a last resort after they’ve tried a nutrition program for weight loss without surgery.

There are several different types of weight loss or bariatric surgery. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of weight loss surgery:

Gastric bypass weight loss surgery: In gastric bypass surgery, the patient’s stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a larger lower pouch, and the smaller pouch is connected directly to the small intestine.

This significantly reduces the amount of food the patient’s stomach can hold, since food is directed to the smaller pouch and “bypasses” the rest of the stomach.

The idea of how gastric bypass weight loss surgery works is that, due to the smaller stomach capacity, the patient will eat less after surgery.

Adjustable gastric band weight loss surgery: In gastric band surgery, the surgeon places a ring with an inner inflatable band around the top of the patient’s stomach to create a small pouch.

Similar to gastric bypass surgery, this is designed to make the patient feel full after eating a small amount of food.

Gastric sleeve weight loss surgery: Gastric sleeve surgery goes a step further than gastric bypass or gastric band surgery by actually removing a large portion of the patient’s stomach so that all that remains is a narrow “sleeve.”

The concept of how gastric sleeve weight loss surgery works is similar the idea behind other types of weight loss surgery ― the patient can only eat small amounts of food at any given time.

It is believed that Gastric sleeve surgery also reduces production of ghrelin, a stomach hormone that drives hunger.

Electric implant weight loss surgery: In electrical implant weight loss surgery, a small device is implanted in the patient’s abdomen.

The device delivers electrical pulses to the vagus nerve, which tells the brain when the stomach is full. The patient can control the device to try to reduce hunger and control eating.

All weight loss surgery requires a patient to limit how much she eats after surgery ― and all weight loss surgery comes with health risks and side effects. Common side effects of weight loss surgery include nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, increased gas and dizziness. Another possible side effect is the formation of gallstones due to losing weight too quickly.

Due to the health risks, weight loss surgery is usually reserved for those who are extremely obese (body mass index of 30 or more) and/or have serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease caused by being overweight.

Does insurance cover weight loss programs?

Health insurance plans vary widely in coverage, so there is no easy “yes” or “no” answer when asking, “Does insurance cover weight loss programs?” It should also be noted that federal regulation of health insurance is subject to change at any time.

The Affordable Care Act, passed during the Obama administration and still in effect as of publication of this post, requires insurance companies to cover obesity screening and counseling at no cost to policyholders.

Free obesity screening is part of the Affordable Care Act’s emphasis on preventive care ― covered services designed to identify risks factors that contribute to chronic disease.

The idea is that screening to detect whether a patient is overweight gives health care providers an opportunity to develop a treatment plan that can help the patient lose weight and, thereby, reduce the risk of obesity-related health problems such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and arthritis.

It is important to point out here that not all health insurance policies are Affordable Care Act compliant. Some insurance providers have chosen to opt out of the ACA “marketplace.”

However, any health insurance policy sold on a state health insurance marketplace will cover obesity screening and counseling. If screening shows a policyholder’s body mass index (BMI) to be over 30, the policyholder then qualifies for free (covered) weight loss counseling services.

Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act is not terribly specific about what these counseling services should encompass.

And the picture of does insurance cover weight loss programs becomes even murkier when it comes to actual treatment of obesity ― including the cost of participating in a weight loss program ― depending to a great extent on where a policyholder lives and the plan they have.

According to the Obesity Society, only four states ― California, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Michigan ― plus the District of Columbia chose benchmark plans that require insurance to cover weight loss programs as an essential health benefit.

Twenty-two states, including the four mentioned above, chose benchmark plans that require insurance cover bariatric surgery, while 28 states chose plans that cover neither weight loss programs nor bariatric surgery.

What’s more, even people whose insurance covers weight loss programs are never formally diagnosed and, therefore, do not access the services outlined in their insurance plans.

“This could go hand-in-hand with coverage: If doctors aren’t being paid to treat obesity, they may not see any benefit in making a formal diagnosis,” says Scott Kahan, spokesperson for The Obesity Society.

These two barriers to care ― no insurance for medical weight loss support and lack of initial diagnosis ― can negatively impact people with obesity or overweightas they seek support from those most adept, trained weight-loss professionals,” adds Kahan.

To determine whether your insurance covers weight loss programs, check with your company’s benefits director or call your insurance provider directly.

Which weight loss programs are for beginners?

If you are a beginner to weight loss diet programs, there are a few things you should know and accept from the start.

One is that, in a sense, all weight loss food programs are for beginners ― meaning that if a weight loss program is effective and works, you shouldn’t need to use another weight loss program in the future.

Looking at this another way, if you are very “experienced” with weight loss programs ― if you have been on several different programs without success ― either you have chosen the wrong weight loss programs in the past, or you are not following the programs properly.

So, if you are a beginner, it’s important to choose the best healthy weight loss program from the start. Specifically, you’ll want to examine the program’s features, safety, costs and results based on clinical trials.

For tips on evaluating weight loss diet programs, read our previous post, Everything You Need to Know about Weight Loss Programs ― Including Which Is Best for You.

Which weight loss programs are for type 2 diabetics?

For a review of weight loss programs for type 2 diabetes, click here.

Are there weight loss programs for busy moms?

There are lots of challenges for weight loss programs for busy moms, not the least of which is … moms are busy!

Busy moms don’t have time to spend hours planning out meals, counting calories or working their butts off in the gym.

So, the best program for busy moms is the easiest weight loss program.

On the surface, then, it would seem weight loss food programs that offer packaged meals and snacks would be perfect for busy moms, but if you’re a busy mom who also prepares most of the meals in your house, packaged foods present a problem: What do you feed your family?

Not only do you have to spend all that time (you’re busy ― you don’t have time!) preparing separate meals for your family, you also have to watch them eating the food you lovingly made while you eat food that came in a cardboard box.

For this reason, the best at home weight loss programs for busy moms are ones that offer food choices mom and the whole family can eat and enjoy.

We must point out here that children and minors should never follow a restricted-calorie diet or weight loss program unless one has been recommended by a doctor for medical reasons.

But there are plenty of at home weight loss programs such as The LOVIDIA Way that are based on nutritional balance and portion control ― in other words, sensible eating ― and since no foods are “off limits,” a family can still enjoy meals together.

Which are the best weight loss programs for athletes?

Athletes have to be especially cautious about weight loss programs.

An athlete’s body uses up huge amounts of energy. Strenuous exercise and training breaks down muscle, wears at joint tissue, and strains the heart and lungs. So, an athlete’s body needs calories and nutrients to feed muscles and fuel organ function and tissue repair.

Calories are the energy found in food. Your body burns calories for energy. Athletes have to be careful about weight loss programs that require them to drastically cut calories or eliminate certain foods from their diets to lose weight.

If an athlete isn’t getting enough calories or is missing key nutrients because of a restricted-calorie diet, she will feel weak, lack endurance, and be more prone to injury.

Therefore, the best weight loss programs for athletes are ones that stress balanced eating, with plenty of vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.

What if I have more questions?

When in doubt, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Tell him or her you’re concerned about your weight and that you’re considering making a lifestyle change. Write down any questions or concerns you have and bring them with you to the appointment.

Bring literature from any weight loss plans you are considering so your physician can help you assess their safety and which program is likely to work best for you. This is especially true if you have a medical condition such as type 2 diabetes or take any medication that affects your weight.

Finally, you’ll find more information on weight loss programs in the related posts below:

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Weight Loss Programs for Diabetics and Which Programs Work Best

When it comes to weight loss, the desire to look good is a powerful motivator, and there’s no doubt that losing weight has positive effects on confidence and self-esteem.

But the benefits of weight loss programs for diabetics far exceed fitting into a smaller size dress or being able to notch your belt tighter, especially for people with Type 2 diabetes.

For Type 2 diabetics, losing just 5 percent of your body weight can be life changing.

According to the American Diabetes Association, “Losing just a few pounds through exercise and eating well can help with your diabetes control and can reduce your risk for other health problems. You will also have more energy and feel better in general!”

A 2011 Study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that diabetics who lost at least 5 percent of their body weight were more successful reducing their hemoglobin A1C levels. The impact of weight loss on blood sugar was comparable to the effect of anti-diabetes pills.

As we will discuss later in this post, a clinical trial on our own weight loss program, The LOVIDIA Way, showed dramatic improvement in A1C levels for nearly half of the participants with prediabetes, and the sole participant with Type 2 diabetes saw her diabetes resolved during the course of the study.

What’s more, by losing weight, people with Type 2 diabetes can become less insulin resistant. And because their bodies are better able to use insulin, they find it easier to lose weight.

In many ways, you can think of weight loss programs for diabetics as creating a circuit that works like this:

Losing weight → better glucose control + less insulin resistance → easier weight loss → better glucose control + less insulin resistance → continued weight loss

And so on, and so on.

That’s why doctors typically recommend that overweight patients who’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes begin a weight loss program as soon as possible. The earlier you can start the cycle of weight loss described above, the better your chances of reversing the effects diabetes.

What causes Type 2 diabetes?

To understand how weight loss programs for diabetics can help reverse the effects of Type 2 diabetes, it’s important to review what causes the disease.

Type 2 diabetes starts in your pancreas.

When you eat, your blood sugar (glucose) rises, especially in response to sugary foods and other carbohydrates.

In healthy individuals, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which helps move sugar from the blood into cells where it can be used as energy. As blood sugar decreases, the pancreas stops releasing insulin.

But in people with Type 2 diabetes, your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. As a result, sugar or glucose builds up in the blood, causing a range of symptoms, including excessive thirst and urination, fatigue and increased hunger.

The connection between Type 2 diabetes and weight

There are clear links between body weight and Type 2 diabetes:

According to the World Health Organization, 90 percent of Type 2 diabetics are overweight or obese.
Being overweight increases insulin resistance, making blood glucose management more difficult.
Insulin resistance also causes the pancreas to secrete extra insulin in an attempt to compensate.
Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so having extra insulin makes weight loss more difficult for diabetics than for people without diabetes.
While some diabetes-management medications aid in weight loss, weight gain is a common side effect of prescription insulin used to treat Type 2 diabetes.
In short, being overweight contributes to the onset of Type 2 diabetes, and having Type 2 diabetes makes weight loss more difficult.

Can a weight loss program for diabetics reverse Type 2 diabetes?

There is ample evidence that with a healthy eating weight loss program, Type 2 diabetes can be managed and even reversed. What’s more, the beneficial effects on blood glucose control often can be observed before weight loss occurs.

A British study that aimed to assess the effects of a physician-directed weight loss program for diabetics found that nearly half of participants who stopped taking medications to control their diabetes and instead followed a structured diet under a doctor’s supervision “achieved remission to a non-diabetic state” ― meaning they no longer had diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association likewise says, “Normal blood glucose control is possible after weight loss in some individuals. This happens most commonly after bariatric surgery, but it can also happen when eating dramatically fewer calories. This return to normal can happen when following a very-low-calorie diet.”

The ADA cited another British study in which “a robust and sustainable weight loss program reversed diabetes for at least 6 months in 40% of subjects (and in 60% of subjects with short-duration diabetes).”

The ADA concluded, “According to these findings, Type 2 diabetes is a potentially reversible condition.”

This assessment was verified in our own clinical trial on The LOVIDIA Way, where seven of the 17 participants (41 percent) with prediabetes saw their A1C levels return to the normal range after just 13 weeks of following the program. Likewise, while there was only one participant with Type 2 diabetes, that individual’s diabetes resolved during the course of the study, with A1C levels returning to prediabetes levels.

What’s the best weight loss program for diabetics?

When considering a diabetic-friendly weight loss diet program, make sure the program takes your nutritional needs as a diabetic into account.

All of the studies cited in this post involved reduced-calorie weight loss diets. But it’s not just a simple matter of calories consumed and calories burned. A weight loss program for diabetics should also help give you better control over blood sugar levels.

In general, your best choice for keeping blood glucose levels balanced ― preventing spikes and dips in blood sugar ― is a healthy eating program that gets 40-50 percent of total calories from protein, 20-25 percent from healthy fats, and 30-35 percent from complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains and fiber.

Finally, a weight loss program for diabetics shouldn’t be only about diet. Your weight loss program should combine the nutritional requirements of a diabetic diet with daily exercise.

There is extensive research to shows that people who incorporate regular exercise along with a reduced-calorie diet lose more weight and more fat than people who diet alone.

This is especially important for diabetics because fat plays such a critical role in insulin resistance and the body’s ability to use insulin correctly.

These findings are supported by the National Weight Control Registry, which maintains a database of 10,000 men and women who have lost at least 65 pounds and kept it off. The Registry compiles information on how these people achieved and maintained weight loss and has found that 90 percent exercise regularly.

Talk to your doctor before beginning a weight loss program for diabetics
Diabetes is a complex disease, and we always recommend that everyone consult with their doctor or health care provider before beginning a weight loss program. This is especially true of anyone with a serious medical condition like Type 2 diabetes.

But don’t wait to have the conversation.

A healthy eating weight loss program may be the diabetic solution you need, and the sooner you get started on a weight loss program for diabetics, the more likely you are to have success in freeing yourself from diabetes and its complications.

When you start eating healthier, get more exercise and lose weight, you can at least reduce your diabetes symptoms, and a commitment to exercise and dietary changes may be all you need to significantly improve the quality of your life.

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6 Mindful Snacking Tips for Weight Loss

6 Mindful Snacking Tips for Weight Loss

How often do you reach for a snack?

According to research from Mintel, 94% of Americans snack at some point during the day with half of adults snacking two to three times a day.

With so many of us snacking regularly, you have to wonder what impact snacking has on weight loss. While some argue that eating smaller meals throughout the day is the secret to losing weight, others contend that snacking is the reason American waistlines are growing.

Ultimately it’s not about whether or not you do snack, but HOW you snack that’s most important. Mindless snacking is guaranteed to add unnecessary calories to your diet without the nutritional benefits.

On the other hand, mindful snacking ensures that you’re carefully considering your snacks as a part of your overall nutritional intake. Here are five mindful snacking tips to promote weight loss:

1 | Choose snacks that are high in fiber or protein

Many popular snack foods are filled with empty calories, meaning they have little to no nutritional value. By swapping your usual snacks for nutritious options that contain fiber and/or protein, you’ll feel full faster and satisfied for a longer time.

Fiber helps regulate your nutrient intake so that your body processes fat and carbohydrates at the proper rate for lower insulin levels. It also boosts the appetite-suppressing hormone GLP-1 to naturally control hunger.


Getting enough protein in a low-calorie diet has been shown to maintain muscle mass with increased fat loss. Protein also stimulates production of GLP-1 and PYY, the “fullness” hormones released in your lower intestine.

A lot of snack foods are high in sugar and carbohydrates. They give you a quick jolt of energy, but the feeling doesn’t last. Soon your blood sugar drops and you’re craving more food to boost your energy.

2 | Pay attention to portion size

Healthy snacks can be an asset to your overall nutrition, but this doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Portion size is important.

Diving into an entire bag of Beanitos Sea Salt Chips may boost your protein intake, but also increases your calorie and sodium intake. To avoid unwanted calories from snacks, it’s key that you pay attention to serving sizes.

It can be challenging to measure individual serving sizes correctly. It’s also more taxing for your willpower to stop eating when a full bag is present. Our “Goodbye Hunger” Bundle takes the guesswork out of snacking by providing pre-portioned, healthy snack options.

3 | Read nutrition labels

Along with portion size, it’s essential to read the nutrition label on snack foods. Just because a snack is low in calories or fat, doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that it will sustain your energy.

Many snacks advertised as “100 calorie packs” are full of sugar or sodium and have little to no nutritional value. These items may be pre-portioned, but they won’t fill you up. It won’t be long before you’re fighting the urge to grab another package.

Watch out for misleading facts that make a nutrition label confusing. Research shows that many people have a hard time reading nutrition labels correctly, which can lead to accidentally making poor choices.

4 | Take your Lovidia XR twice daily for hunger control

Lovidia XR stimulates taste sensors in your lower gut that trigger the release of GLP-1 and PYY, the hormones that control hunger and cravings. When you take Lovidia XR consistently, you lower your baseline hunger level so you naturally eat less.

Lovidia XR doesn’t contain any caffeine or stimulants so you get the benefits of hunger control without the unpleasant side effects. Your appetite is smaller, you feel full faster, and you take in fewer calories without the struggle of feeling hungry.

The best time to take Lovidia XR is at breakfast and lunch so you’re appetite is naturally reduced throughout the day. Similar to other healthy habits, consistency is key.

5 | Use Lovidia Bars as a Meal Replacement

Unlike the typical protein or meal replacement bar, Lovidia Bars are made with a specially-formulated blend of all-natural ingredients designed to reduce hunger levels and control cravings. Because of its potent hunger-control effect, this is an excellent choice as a meal replacement to accelerate weight loss.

Many bars on the market are so loaded with calories, sugar, and carbohydrates that you can barely finish one. This small, but mighty bar works with your body’s own hunger control process to help you feel satisfied with fewer calories.

6 | Be aware of your ACTUAL hunger level

We live in a time when food is easily accessible at all times. We no longer have to hunt or grow our own food, and we don’t have to plan ahead for seasons when food is less abundant.

While this obviously makes life a lot easier, the downside is that we often eat when we’re not actually hungry. You might feel like snacking because of stress, boredom, hormones, habits, or emotions.

Learning to recognize true hunger will help you avoid unnecessary calories that can lead to weight gain. Mindful snacking means that you’re eating because your body needs food, not because your emotions are luring you to the pantry.

When you feel like eating, ask yourself a few questions before immediately reaching for a snack. Instead of mindlessly obeying your cravings, listen to your body’s natural hunger cues.

  • Are you feeling stressed or anxious?
  • Do you want food simply because it’s available (for example, if someone left treats in the breakroom at work)?
  • Are you bored or lacking motivation?
  • Does a particular activity make you feel like you should be eating (for example, having a snack while watching tv)?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, try this easy trick to determine if you really need food. Set a timer for 20 minutes and find another activity. Chances are that when the timer goes off, you’ll no longer be focused on food. If you’re still feeling hungry, eat a small, healthy snack.


Mindless eating is bad habit and an easy way to add unwanted calories to your diet. Focus on the quality of the snacks you eat and the portion size to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Pay attention to your hunger level rather than responding to cravings alone.

Lovidia will help you establish a lower baseline hunger level and control your appetite so you can lose weight without the struggle.

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Here’s Why You’re Not Losing Weight on a Vegan Diet and How to Fix it

Here’s Why You’re Not Losing Weight on a Vegan Diet and How to Fix it


You’ve probably heard that a strict vegan diet is one of the best approaches to eating for weight loss. As it turns out, there’s a fair bit of science backing this theory! Research points to an overall lower BMI for vegan dieters, as well as fewer health concerns linked to weight. Veganism is a path many people adopt as they search for a better way to approach changing their diet over the long term.

Despite a proven correlation to weight loss, however, many people become frustrated after going vegan. They’re not losing weight on a vegan diet—in fact, they might even be putting pounds on after the switch! It can be frustrating to make the switch to a plant-based diet, only to experience no change, or worse, negative change.

While simply adopting a vegan diet isn’t always enough to spur weight loss, there are a few common mistakes new dieters make that may be keeping them from shedding the pounds. Here are a few of the most common reasons you might not be experiencing vegan weight loss:

Your diet isn’t protein-rich

One of the biggest concerns of vegan dieters in general is getting the right amount of daily protein. Without meat, you’ll need to fill the void with beans, legumes, lentils and other protein-rich substitutes. The problem of getting enough protein is one vegetarian dieters will recognize and be more equipped to handle—however if you’re going from a regular diet to a vegan one, this is likely where your weight loss efforts are being stymied.

A lack of protein in your diet can negatively impact metabolism, leading you to feel lethargic and weak on a daily basis. This will also stunt your weight loss, as the body will start to conserve energy and maintain weight, rather than expend energy to burn fat stores.

Make it a point to add more lentils to your meals, eat almonds for a snack and get a daily dose of peas to ramp up your protein intake each day. If you’re still struggling, plant-based protein shakes are a good intermediate option as you learn more about crafting the right diet.

You’re eating way too much

Meat and other animal food products are filling! We feel full after eating a steak or an omelet, which tells us we should stop eating. On a vegan diet, you’re not likely to experience this feeling of “fullness” in the same way, despite getting enough to eat.

Not losing weight on a vegan diet is often the product of overeating—or, eating until you feel “full.” For example, if you’re packing on a huge lunch of fruit, grains and nuts, with portions that exceed your body’s dietary needs, putting a big dinner on top of this will really inflate your calorie count. You might be eating better, but you’re also eating more.

Remember, weight loss is a simple equation: calorie intake must be lower than calorie expenditure, creating a deficit for weight loss to occur. Tone down your portions and serving sizes if you’re not seeing the vegan weight loss you expect.

You’re drinking way too much

If you’re not losing weight on a vegan diet, the culprit might not be what you’re eating—it could be what you’re drinking!

Drinking anything other than water or unsweetened tea is the equivalent of bombarding your body with calories it might not be ready to process. The 136 calories and 33g of sugar in the average soft drink will take you about an hour of light walking to burn off. Or, that vegan plant-based smoothie you’re drinking as a snack might contain an extra 300-400 calories you’re not considering.

These sneaky calories add up fast and make it hard to lose weight, even with careful dieting. Switch to water only or start counting your liquid calories to see if it helps jumpstart weight loss.

You’re eating vegan junk food

Did you know that Oreo cookies and most potato chips are vegan? It just goes to show, even on a vegan diet it’s easy to indulge! But overindulging can seriously cramp your weight loss efforts. Consuming too many foods that are high in salt, sugar or fat can leave you far short of achieving vegan weight loss.

Try to eat more raw snacks like carrots or cucumbers, and when you have a sweet tooth, cut up an apple instead of reaching for packaged foods. Opting for foods high in fiber can also help you build on good dieting habits.

Take the right path to veganism

If you’re pursuing weight loss through a vegan diet, make sure you’re avoiding these common pitfalls! Starting a new diet and not seeing results can be disheartening—rather than give up, it’s better to reevaluate, identify problems and make adjustments that yield better results. The pursuit of vegan weight loss is no different. Developing good habits will result in positive changes for your body!

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How Fiber Helps Us Lose Weight and Burn Fat While Preventing Chronic Disease!

How Fiber Helps Us Lose Weight and Burn Fat While Preventing Chronic Disease!


How can you lose weight and burn fat more effectively while also dramatically lowering your risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes….

More fiber?


Fiber has long been associated with grains. Whole grain sources of fiber have value, especially oats, oat bran, and barley, for example. It is also the fiber we get from vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds that provide the fuel for weight loss.

Fiber is a big key to weight loss for several reasons!

First lets breakdown our two sources of fiber.

Soluble fiber:

Soluble fiber dissolves in water forming viscous gels. This precious fiber gel bypasses the digestion of the small intestine and is easily fermented by the microflora of the large intestine. The best sources are fruit, especially high pectin fruit like apples, pears and plums. Avocado, artichokes, lentils, beans and veggies like broccoli, carrots and onions are also great sources.

Insoluble fiber:

Insoluble fibers are not water soluble. They do not form gels like soluble fiber. Instead they act more like a bulking agent in the gut, assisting in elimination and preventing constipation and the formation of certain gut conditions like SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) that often arise from chronic constipation or sluggish bowels.

Insoluble fiber comes largely from whole grains, but also from a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. But most foods contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber. Beets, flax seeds, cauliflower, and green beans are examples of balanced fiber sources.

Weight loss, especially fat loss depends on your GUT!

Taking in higher amounts of plant fiber increases nutrient absorption in the gut. It provides prebiotic support to the gut to make more good bacteria strains, including strains that aid weight loss like Lactobacillus Gasseri.

Fiber also reduces the bad bacteria that is associated with disorders like IBS, leaky gut, and certain autoimmune conditions that can contribute to weight gain.

Use fiber to lose weight by controlling inflammation, preventing disease and managing hormones

Soluble fiber and its gel-like quality provides a barrier to prevent harmful toxins that can increase cancer risk from making contact with the mucosal cell lining of the gut.

Both fiber sources increase binding between bile acids and toxins, medications, fat, cholesterol, and excess hormones to speed up transit time and emptying from the body. Higher fiber intake also increases antioxidants in the gut to control inflammation.

Excess hormones due to conditions like PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), Estrogen Dominance, and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) have a strong connection to increased body fat, especially in the midsection. If you can move toxins, excess hormones, and medications out of the body faster, create more antioxidant production, and mediate inflammation, you’ll see more weight loss, especially in the midsection.

Use fiber as a natural appetite suppressant

Fiber gives us a feeling of fullness longer while regulating our macro nutrient intake within a meal, especially fats and carbohydrates, better controlling and lowering insulin for reduced midsection visceral fat.

At the same time fiber also drives up the appetite suppressant hormone GLP-1 that the body produces, giving you a real physiological sense of fullness and satiety.

The Bottom Line

Many people make the mistake of turning a lower calorie weight loss diet into a low fiber diet. Don’t make that mistake!

Instead aim for high fiber intake that will speed up your weight loss and fat loss by supporting gut, hormones, fat and cholesterol metabolism, and blood sugar balance.

At the same time you make your weight loss plan a safe and beneficial plan for your overall health, driving down disease risk, instead of turning it up. High fiber foods are by nature low calorie so they can always work into a reduced-calorie weight loss plan.

Eat a variety of fiber sources daily and aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily for maximum weight loss.

Best every day fiber sources:

apples, avocado, berries, pears, plums, artichoke, beets, broccoli, carrots, green beans, onions, oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, white beans, lentils.

Functional food fiber Rock Stars!

Aloe, acacia fiber, glucomannan, oat bran, Lovidia toasted oat fiber, soaked chia seeds/chia pudding.

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Couples Losing Weight Together: Dieting With Your SO – Should you do it?

Couples Losing Weight Together: Dieting With Your SO – Should you do it?

One of the most difficult parts of doing a lifestyle change can revolve around your relationship with your Significant Other. If you’re living together, but you’re the only one dieting, it can be a nightmare – especially if much of your couples time together revolved around food-related activities like dining out.

In my practice, I’ve observed that partners who diet together often have the easiest time adapting to a new lifestyle, as well as achieving the best results from weight loss.  There are probably a few reasons for this.

The biggest hurdles to dieting are often the temptations to “cheat” on your diet, or eat foods that are not part of the protocol.  One great way to eliminate the temptation is to rid your home entirely of all of these foods and then not buy them at the store – far easier when both of you are sticking to the same healthy diet.  But of course, when you have a spouse who is NOT dieting with you, you may get some push back on throwing out all of the junk. 

Another big hurdle is the daily cooking and meal preparation rather than relying on fast food/eating out.  If you and your SO diet together, you can share grocery shopping and cooking duties.  Plus, it can be an adventure to explore together what giant bags of precut veggies Costco or Samʻs might have week by week!

Diets can also cause mood swings. If your body was previously used to getting certain amounts of sugars and unhealthy carbs, you may go through withdrawals or major cravings for these items.  This can leave you in an emotionally fragile state for a few days when you start.  Of course, if your SO is also going through the same thing, chances are higher that the couple will be supportive of each othersʻ progress and listen to each othersʻ frustrations. 

Probably the biggest advantage though of dieting as a couple though, is the joy you get to share in getting healthier together, and bonding through genuine lifestyle change. 

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Optimizing Thyroid Health to Maximize Weight Loss!

Optimizing Thyroid Health to Maximize Weight Loss!


A big key to weight loss and keeping the weight off is optimizing thyroid function. I recommend women get their thyroid checked yearly and men at least every few years. Hypothyroidism is a very common condition and a major culprit in weight gain and in difficulty losing weight.

Symptoms of hypothyroid include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • trouble tolerating cold
  • joint and muscle pain
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • dry, thinning hair
  • decreased sweating
  • heavy or irregular menstrual periods
  • fertility problems
  • depression
  • slowed heart rate
  • goiter

Reference ranges vary from lab to lab but generally 0.5 to 4.5 is considered a normal range. However subclinical hypothyroid with presentation of many hypothyroid symptoms can occur for many people once TSH is above 2.0 and even more significantly as it reaches above 3.0. Optimal weight loss and body composition correlates with a TSH that is below 2.0.  Making dietary adjustments and stress reduction can be helpful whether you have a long history of hypothyroid and are on medication but still having signs and symptoms of hypothyroid or your TSH is just a little above 2.0 and you want to get that thyroid edge back!


Top 5 essential food related steps to start optimizing thyroid:

  1. No soy. None, zero, zilch! Soy suppresses thyroid function. Soy contains goitrogens which largely block iodine absorption. Iodine is the thyroid’s biggest ally. My at-home alternative to soy sauce is coconut aminos, a great alternative and coconut is neutral to supportive to the thyroid, depending on the form.
  2. The average American is not consuming enough iodine. Iodine is key to thyroid health, as well as breast health. Make sure you are consuming weekly sources of naturally-occurring iodine from seafood, salt water fish, and seaweeds like arame, dulse, hijiki, kelp, nori and wakame. Here are some easy ways to make seaweed happen in your diet…think toasted seaweed snacks, a seaweed salad with sushi, Nori avocado or veggie rolls, condiment forms of dulse and kelp that you can sprinkle on food. You can also take kelp or mixed seaweed supplements. Avoid taking iodine as potassium iodine, this is not a plant source of iodine and for many it can make your symptoms and condition worse, especially if autoimmune thyroid/ Hashimoto’s is present.
  3. Take good care of your liver! Supporting your liver will help to support thyroid by improving overall hormone metabolism and aid in the conversion of T4 to the more active T3 hormone! Support your liver and improve T4 to T3 conversion by eating bitter greens like arugula, endive, dandelion, mustard greens, radicchio and watercress, as well as more common semi bitter and sweet greens like chard, kale, collard and spinach. Lots of leafy greens are also a good source of Tyrosine which also aids in conversion of T4 to T3.  Take alcohol, sugar, fried foods and white flour out of your diet to further support your liver.  Also, take a liver tonic supplement like milk thistle, dandelion and guggul, which can aid in reversing weight gain related to an under active thyroid.
  4. Three minerals your thyroid needs to function optimally are magnesium, zinc and selenium, especially selenium, maybe the most essential nutrient in converting inactive T4 to active fat burning T3! The best sources of selenium are brazil nuts and sunflower seeds, fish, sardines, halibut salmon, pinto beans and navy beans, additionally selenium can be found in all meats and eggs. The best sources of magnesium are leafy greens, especially chard, as well as avocados, nuts and fish like halibut. Zinc can be found abundantly in all meat, as well as in garbanzo beans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, spinach and mushrooms.
  5. Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D. Most people don’t get enough from the sun or from foods like fish, grass fed butter and pastured eggs. Consider supplementing with Vitamin D if your levels are below 30.

Also ask your doctor to run a TPO and TgAb test to rule out autoimmune thyroid/Hashimoto’s. This is different than primary hypothyroidism and needs to be treated differently.  This condition is on the rise and you want to know if you have it so you can be proactive! Paying more attention to immune modulation, gut health, vitamin D, and avoiding gluten are essential for reversing symptoms of Hashimoto’s and losing the weight for good!


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Maximizing Protein for Weight Loss While on a Vegetarian Diet

Maximizing Protein for Weight Loss While on a Vegetarian Diet


Protein is a very long established and well researched part of successful weight loss. Studies show greater weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass after higher-protein calorie-restriction diets than after lower-protein calorie-restriction diets. Reductions in triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference are also reported. In addition, more satiety effect, including greater perceived fullness and elevated satiety hormones is reported after higher-protein meals. The satiety effect of protein is partly mediated by a synergistic effect of the satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY released from the small intestine. This is most effective with meals that contained at least 25 grams or more of protein at one serving but also had the same results for protein replacement meals, like high quality low processed protein smoothies (see the recipe below).

Getting the weight loss and muscle preserving and building benefits of protein is possible on a vegetarian diet. Here are 5 areas where you can maximize your protein on a vegetarian diet.

  1. High protein white beans. White beans contain almost 18 grams of protein per serving. Other beans can also provide anywhere from 7 grams to 17 grams of protein.
  2. Quinoa, Teff and Amaranth are protein powerhouses averaging 8 to 10 grams of protein per serving with largely a complete protein profile similar to meat. Make sure to soak and cook these naturally gluten free “seed” grains well to unlock their macro and micro nutrient potential and render them easy to digest.
  3. Pumpkin seeds yield around 9 grams of protein per serving and pumpkin seed protein powder yields 19 grams of protein! Pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc and omega 3’s which are also often only found in fish and meat sources.
  4. Lentils have 9 grams of protein per serving, nearly the same as 2 eggs, which weigh in at 10 grams. Many people find lentils easier to digest than beans, especially sprouted lentils.
  5. Hemp seeds have 6 grams of protein per serving and are easy to sprinkle into a smoothie or onto a salad. They are also rich in omega 3’s, which is important if you are not eating fish.

Other tips for maximizing protein through plant based foods include preparing veggie burgers that combine beans, quinoa and eating complete protein sprouted bread. Even a serving of broccoli provides nearly 5 grams of protein which can add up and get you to your minimum of 25 grams per meal. If you are not vegan I recommend high protein Greek yogurt, pasture eggs and grass-fed whey protein, these will provide you with between 10 to 24 grams of protein per serving.  Keep in mind that most plant sources of protein do not individually contain all 20 essential amino acids, but combining these different variety of plant proteins, including legumes, grains, seeds and nuts will naturally complete the proteins. We used to think this had to be done in one meal but we now know that is incorrect. All your incomplete protein intake will match up for the day; it doesn’t have to be done perfectly meal by meal, but the greater variety the better!

My favorite plant based morning protein smoothie recipe:

1 scoop of pumpkin seed protein (19 grams protein)

2 TB of hemp seeds (6 grams protein)

1 TB of almond butter (7 grams of protein)

1 cup berries (1 gram protein)

Filtered water, ice or your favorite seed, nut or oat milk

this yields a whopping 33 grams of protein, lots of healthy “fat burning” fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber while also staying low glycemic.


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What’s Good for the Gut is Good for Weight Loss

What’s Good for the Gut is Good for Weight Loss


With advancements in science and a better understanding of the human microbiome we are learning just how important gut (health) microbiota is in influencing health and weight loss. People that have more diversity in their gut microbiota are leaner than people who have less diversity of gut flora. 
Our gut flora or microbiota contains tens of trillions of micro-organisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes, One third of our gut microbiota is common to most people, while two thirds are specific to each one of us. So, we are influencing our microbiota with every meal and forming the unique environment that can influence optimal weight. Here are 5 top tips to encourage a more diverse microbiota and with that, a leaner body.

1. Prebiotic foods: are certain high fiber plant foods that help act as a kind of fertilizer to help make more probiotics in the gut, some of these are:

  • Onions
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Artichokes
  • Yams
  • Beans
  • Chicory
  • Oats

2. Probiotic foods are created largely by fermentation and this process helps to produce good bacteria strains that feed our gut microbiota levels and diversity, these include:

  • Yogurts including dairy/coconut/almond
  • Kefir including dairy/non-dairy
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Bacterially fermented cheeses
  • Kimchi
  • Miso

3. Emphasizing omega 3’s and 9’s while decreasing omega 6’s in your diet is a sure-fire way to melt the pounds via the gut. Obesity has been linked to intake of inflammatory omega 6s and not enough anti-inflammatory omega 3s. This imbalance in fatty acids in the gut produce toxins called lipopolysaccharides (LPS) that trigger inflammation, insulin resistance or pre-diabetes and therefore, promote weight gain. Avoid corn, canola and soy oil and incorporate more olive oil, avocado oil for cooking and eat your seeds! Chia, flax, sunflower, sesame, hemp and pumpkin seeds as well as almonds and walnuts, snacking on these sources of healthy omega 3’s and 9’s will help you get lean and also support heart health.

4. Take probiotic supplements that contain certain bacteria strains. In a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition women on a weight loss program taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus over a 24-week period had double the weight loss of the placebo group not taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus…DOUBLE! That’s a great stat! Look for probiotics with Lactobacillus rhamnosus as well as lactobacillus Gasseri for extra fat burning support from your daily probiotic.

5. Avoid the things that can alter gut microbiota away from good bacteria and towards producing more “bad” bacteria that can cause GI distress and reduce diversity like excess sugar, red meat, processed meats like lunch deli meats, white flour and alcohol as well as overuse of certain OTC medications and overuse of antibiotics, especially without replacing with a probiotic following an antibiotic course.