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Eating for Better Health

What You Need to Know

  • Being overweight or obese raises your risk for health problems, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer.
  • Factors that may affect overeating and obesity include genetics, metabolism, socioeconomic factors, personal lifestyle choices, medicine, or emotions.
  • In general, a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 to 24.9 in adults is recommended. Figure out your BMI

Facebook Q&A: Dr. Kerry Stewart

Dr. Kerry StewartDr. Kerry Stewart

On January 9, Dr. Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine, answered questions on the Johns Hopkins Medicine Facebook page about weight loss, how different diets compare in effectiveness, and how you can maintain your New Year's goals.

Q: Can vitamin D deficiency cause weight gain and low energy?

A: Vitamin D is very important for bone health. A recent study showed that being obese can lower vitamin D levels but taking more vitamin D did not reduce obesity. So look for other reasons for weight gain rather than Vitamin D levels though be sure to maintain good Vitamin D levels for bone health. Vitamin D supplements may be helpful but it is also important to spend 15 minutes or so in the sun each day if possible since that can be very helpful to boost Vitamin D levels. And while outside, don't just stand there--get your sunshine while doing some walking. That will help burn calories and will contribute to weight loss.

Q: What foods are good to boost your metabolism?

A: I do not believe in relying on a specific type of food to boost metabolism. More important, people should try to increase their metabolism by increasing physical activity. The muscles of the body are the engines that burn calories and using them will burn more calories.

Q: Are there specific fruits I should avoid if I am trying to lose weight?

A: Fruits can be a double-edged sword in a weight loss diet. Though they contain many healthy nutrients they can are often very high in sugars. Therefore eating too much fruit can make it difficult to lose weight and may even lead to weight gain. For example, a banana has 100 calories and about 27 g of carbs. An apple has about 115 calories and 30 g of carbs. Eating just 2 of these a day would provide more than 100 g of carbs. You can do the math but it becomes difficult to lose weight if the number of carbs start creeping over 100 per day. A well-balanced diet with carbs, protein, and fat is a more sensible approach for most people.

To read more of Dr. Stewart's answers, visit the conversation thread on Facebook

Advancements in Weight Loss and Diet Research

Sleeping woman

Linking Weight Loss and Sleep Quality

Weight loss, whether it’s from dietary changes alone or from diet combined with exercise, can help improve the quality of sleep among people who are overweight or obese. 

Do Organic Foods Help Breast Cancer Patients?

Research studies show that organic foods do not contain any more nutrients than non-organic foods, says Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center nutritionist Mary Eve Brown. Find out why you may want to choose organic foods anyway

Four Lifestyle Changes to Protect Your Heart

Johns Hopkins researchers have found a significant link between lifestyle factors and heart health, adding even more evidence in support of regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, keeping a normal weight and, most importantly, not smoking.

Fasting, Ketogenic Diet May Help Children with Epilepsy

Children with persistent and drug-resistant seizures treated with the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet may get an added benefit from periodic fasting, according to a small study.

Weight Struggles? Blame New Neurons in Your Hypothalamus

Research suggests new nerve cells formed in a select part of the brain could hold considerable sway over how much you eat and consequently weigh.


Should You Take Vitamins?

Americans spend $28 billion on multivitamins per year, but are consumers throwing away their hard-earned cash? Find out why multivitamins may be a waste of money.

The Skinny on Healthy Eating

Watch this free webinar with Drs. Linda Lee and Gerard Mullin as they discuss what foods are good, what foods to avoid and how gluten may be affecting you.

Eat Healthy with These Recipes

Many people make New Year's resolutions to get in shape and become healthier -- but the decision to become healthy starts with what you choose to eat. Use these great heart healthy, gluten-free and low cholesterol recipes to help you eat your way through a healthier 2014.

Featured Heart Healthy Recipe: Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers

This meal is generally lightly seasoned, which allows each diner to add condiments to individual taste. 

Each of the four servings contain about 289 calories, 11 g protein, 5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 53 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, and 8 mg sodium.

How to make stuffed peppers



Featured Gluten-Free Recipe: Pork Chops with Savory Apples

Pork chops

For those with a gluten allergy or intolerance, or for those simply looking for a great healthy meal, this recipe for pork chops with savory apples can go from the stove ti the table in under an hour.

Each of the four servings contain about 271 calories, 24 g protein, 13 g fat, 71 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, and 75 mg sodium.



Featured Low Cholesterol Recipe: Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian chili

Whether you’re a full-time vegetarian or simply enjoy a meatless meal now and then, look for recipes that are full of flavor and low in fat. Because strict vegetarian meals don’t contain animal foods, they’re cholesterol-free.

Each of the four servings contain 243 calories, 4 g fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 758 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrates.

How to make vegetarian chili



The Johns Hopkins Digestive Weight Loss Center

If you struggle with your weight, you aren't alone. More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and many have medical conditions that affect their weight. Our team of weight loss specialists can provide you with the information and training you need to reach your goals and enjoy a lifetime of healthy weight.

Request an Appointment