Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Diet Tips Doctors Want You to Hear

Control Carbs and Salt

You lead a busy life, so it's understandable that you try to save time by grabbing food on the go, or buying processed foods and prepackaged frozen or canned meals. But by slashing food preparation time, you may be paying the price in the form of excess carbohydrates and salt. Getting too many carbs and salt causes several problems in your body, one of which is fat storage. One study found that people who practiced a low-carb diet for six months shed more weight than their counterparts who opted for a low-fat, calorie-restricted nutritional plan [source: United States Department of Veterans Affairs].

Keep in mind this list of foods and drinks that are loaded with carbs:

  • alcoholic beverages
  • sweetened beverages, such as fruit juice and soda
  • dessert foods
  • sugared foods, such as dry cereal, some condiments, frozen dinners, canned foods and baked goods

Read food labels when you're shopping, and steer clear of ingredients like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white or enriched wheat flour, saturated fat and hydrogenated oil. You'll also want to opt for foods with low levels of salt, as there's a strong correlation between sodium and obesity. When you consume salt, you become thirsty, and some of us reach for calorie-laden beverages like juice and soda, which leads us to take in additional and unnecessary calories. If you choose a salty meal or snack, drink a low-sodium beverage with it, and don't season the food with any extra salt. Instead, use lemon or lime to add flavor to food and beverages.