"This ensures that you get more vitamins and minerals, which most people don't do, and will likely increase fiber intake as well," he explains. "It will also be more filling, making you less likely to cheat and ingest more calories by nibbling on snacks."
"It's somewhat cliché, but the most important thing to do is to eat healthy and moderate your food intake," Franke continues. "The failure many people face is thinking that diets are temporary things, and to stop once you reach a goal weight. To successfully change requires lifestyle and behavioral changes."
Some observers say you should never eat until you're about to bust.
"Don't eat until you can't eat anything else. You should always leave the table feeling you can always eat a little more," Feltheimer says.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, Gibbons says. The World Health Organization estimates that in developed countries, roughly a quarter of male deaths and nearly a tenth of female deaths can be attributed to smoking.
Cigarette smoke contains 69 known carcinogens and it increases risks for most forms of cancer, particularly of the lung, kidney, larynx, head, neck, bladder, esophagus, pancreas and stomach. Smoking also increases blood pressure and risk of heart disease as well as decreases good HDL cholesterol. The result is that nearly 160,000 men and women in the United States die from cardiovascular disease attributed to smoking every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
"There's also the financial costs," Gibbons says. "If you figure a pack a day at about $4 a pack, that's nearly $30 a week and some $1,500 a year, not to mention the financial costs associated with the medical problems of smoking."
As a result of excessive drinking -- which is defined as anything more than two drinks a day for men or more than one drink a day for women -- more than two million people in the United States have liver disease. Excessive drinking also increases the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, inflammation of the pancreas and certain forms of cancer, especially cancers of the esophagus, mouth, throat, larynx and possibly the breast, colon and rectum.
Roughly 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers also develop alcoholic cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, and liver transplants may be needed for those with life-threatening cirrhosis. In addition, Gibbons notes that "the more heavily you drink, the greater your risk for interpersonal problems."
On the other hand, studies have suggested that moderate drinking, or no more than two drinks a day for men or one drink a day for women, lowers a person's risk for heart disease, death by heart attack or stroke. By these measures, moderate drinkers fare better than both heavy drinkers and abstainers. Researchers believe moderate drinking helps ward off heart disease by thinning the blood and thus suppressing the formation of blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes. Alcohol also seems to enhance the body's ability to break down small clots.