The American Heart Association (AHA) recently published its newest “personal plan for healthy weight loss,” appropriately called the No-Fad Diet (Clarkson Potter 2005). Refreshingly unlike other diets, this plan is “based on behavior, nutrition and physical activity,” according to AHA president Robert Eckel, MD.

Available online from the AHA (, the main points of the book are as follows:

  • Set a personal weight loss goal and write it down; a realistic goal would be to lose 10% of your current body weight.
  • Keep a food diary for 1 week, recording everything you eat and drink.
  • Pay attention to what you eat and why, in order to identify the sources of your personal hidden calories.
  • Substitute fat-free or low-fat milk for whole milk, which can save as many as 65 calories per 8-ounce serving.
  • Read nutrition labels so you know which low-fat foods are actually high in calories.
  • Increase your intake of high-fiber foods, which make you feel full for longer.
  • Cut foods like candy bars or cookies in half, so you can still indulge your cravings with only half the guilt.
  • Stop buying nonessential high-calorie foods out of habit.
  • Make extra amounts of your favorite low-calorie meals, and freeze individual portions for times when you would normally grab fast food.
  • When dining out, order two low-calorie appetizers instead of a higher-calorie entrée. Or ask for a doggie bag when you are served your dinner, and put half away for lunch the next day.

Source: September 2005 Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter.