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Table 1 Scientific justification for the ‘10 Top Tips

From: Study protocol for the 10 Top Tips (10TT) Trial: Randomised controlled trial of habit-based advice for weight control in general practice

Tip Scientific justification Estimated daily calorie deficit
1. Keep to your meal routine
Try to eat at roughly the same times each day, whether this is two or five times a day. People who succeed at long term weight loss tend to have a regular meal rhythm (avoidance of snacking and nibbling) and show ‘flexible’ rather than ‘rigid’ control’ of eating [25]. A consistent diet regimen across the week and year also predicts subsequent long-term weight loss maintenance [26]. This tip helps encourage habit development.
2. Go reduced fat
Choose reduced fat foods (e.g. dairy foods, spreads, salad dressings) where you can. Use high fat foods (e.g. butter and oils) sparingly, if at all. There is a great deal of evidence to support the effectiveness of low-fat diets (where 30 % or less of total daily energy is from fat), which produce weight loss by decreasing calorie intake [27]. Following a low-fat diet is also associated with better weight maintenance [28]. - 200 Kcal
3. Walk off the weight
Walk 10,000 steps (equivalent to 60–90 minutes moderate activity) each day. You can use a pedometer to help count the steps. Achieving the UK government recommendation of at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days a week would increase most people’s energy expenditure and contribute to weight management [29]. More activity (45–60 mins) may be required to prevent the transition to overweight and obesity and maximize weight loss [30]. People who have lost weight may need to do 60–90 minutes of activity a day to maintain their weight loss [29, 30]. Doing 10,000 steps/day is approximately the equivalent to at least 60 minutes of walking at a brisk pace (4.5 mph) [31]. - 100 to 200 Kcal
4. Pack a healthy snack
If you snack, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low calorie yogurts instead of chocolate or crisps. Readily-available snack foods and drinks are often high in energy and tend to be used to supplement rather than replace meals. Between 1993 and 1998 sales of snacks more than tripled in the UK from £173 million to £541 million [4]. Snack consumption is related to a higher daily energy intake [32]. - 150 Kcal
5. Learn the labels
Be careful about food claims. Check the fat and sugar content on food labels when shopping and preparing food. Food labels detailing the caloric and nutritional content of foods provide a basis for making healthy food choices [4]. Inadequate labeling can have a negative impact on nutrition [4]. Providing individuals with simple methods to understand labels will facilitate informed choices [33]. This tip helps people to make informed choices.
6. Caution with your portions
Don’t heap food on your plate (except vegetables). Think twice before having second helpings. Portion sizes have increased in the past 30 years [34, 35]. Larger portions contain more calories and can contribute to excess energy intake and weight gain. Eating satisfying portions of low-energy-dense foods can help enhance satiety and control hunger while restricting energy intake for weight management [35]. - 100 Kcal
7. Up on your feet
Break up your sitting time. Stand up for ten minutes out of every hour. Inactive people are more likely to be obese than active people [29]. Time spent in sedentary behaviors is related to overweight and obesity, independent of physical activity level [36, 37]Decreasing sedentary time and increasing light–to-moderate activity may bring substantial health benefit [29, 36]. - 100 Kcal
8. Think about your drinks
Choose water or sugar-free squashes. Unsweetened fruit juice contains natural sugar so limit to one glass a day (200 ml/1/3 pint). Alcohol is high in calories; limit to one unit a day for women and two for men. Intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks has increased over the last 30 years; up by 135 % (278 kcal) in 5 years [38]. Higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with greater weight gain [39]. Intake of calorific drinks may lead to excess energy intake that is not compensated for elsewhere in the daily diet [39]. - 150 Kcal
9. Focus on your food
Slow down. Don’t eat on the go or while watching TV. Eat at a table if possible. More TV viewing tends to be associated with a higher calorie intake. Internal cues regulating food intake may not be as effective while distracted by the TV [40]. This tip helps place the focus on current habits and to avoid unconscious slips in behavior.
10. Don’t forget your 5 a day
Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The UK Department of Health recommends 400 g of fruit and vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables have high nutritional quality and low energy density. Eating the recommended amount produces health benefits including reduction in the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease [41]. This tip is important for health.
Total Calorie Deficit   - 800 to 900 Kcal