As 2015 approaches, many are considering new year’s resolutions that include diet and exercise, but which strategies are supported by scientific research? Losing weight may not be as simple as exercising to burn off calories; one recent study found that patients actually gained weight after they began a treadmill walking regimen. This could be due to a reactionary measure from the body, such as slowing of the metabolism, increase in appetite, or energy depletion.

Some patients also begin dieting to reduce their body mass index (BMI), but epidemiologists have found that overweight individuals may actually live longer than their normal weight counterparts. Reducing consumption of saturated fats to improve cardiovascular health and salt for longevity have limited support and consuming too little sodium may actually carry a greater risk than benefit. Although healthy eating habits and regular exercise are linked to a reduced risk of diseases such as metabolic disorder, patients should set realistic resolutions and goals for lifestyle changes for overall health.

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