SEATTLE, July 17 (UPI) -- Women who want to lose weight should faithfully keep a food journal and avoid skipping meals and eating in restaurants, U.S. researchers advise.
Dr. Anne McTiernan and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle said study participants were given the following tips for keeping a food journal:
-- Be honest, record everything you eat.
-- Be accurate, measure portions, read labels.
-- Be complete, include details such as how the food was prepared, and the addition of any toppings or condiments.
-- Be consistent, always carry your food diary with you or use a diet-tracking application on your smartphone.
"While the study provided a printed booklet for the women to record their food and beverage consumption, a food journal doesn't have to be anything fancy," McTiernan said in a statement. "Any notebook, or pad of paper, or online program will do."
The analysis was based on data from 123 overweight-to-obese, sedentary, Seattle-area women, ages 50-75, who were randomly assigned to two arms of a controlled, randomized year-long dietary weight-loss intervention study -- diet only and exercise plus diet.
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not; women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than women who did not; and women who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less frequently.