Fad diets no more effective than healthy living

Fad diets no more effective than healthy living

In a recent study it has been discovered that fad diets such as the Atkins or South Beach Diet are no more effective than living healthily.

While those who undertake these fad diets often lose weight over a short period of time, this lost weight is quickly regained within 2 years.

What did the study involve?

This clinical study that was published in the journal ‘Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes’ looked at the results of 4 separate clinical trials performed on 4 popular diet plans:

  1. The low carb Atkins Diet
  2. The South Beach Diet that distinguished good and fat carbs and fats
  3. Weight Watchers that focusses on calorie counting
  4. Zone Diet that allows you to eat a 3:4 ratio of protein and carbs

The researchers then compared the results with what they called “usual care”, which basically meant traditional methods of losing weight.

Methods that include, low-fat diets, behavioural weight loss intervention, nutritional counselling, or self-help materials.

What were the results of the study?

In the trial conducted the results were as follows:

Weight Watchers

Those who tried Weight Watchers lost between 7.7 and 13.2 pounds after a year.

Atkins Diet

After a year those participants lost between 4.6 and 10.3 pounds.

Zone Diet

These participants lost between 3.5 and 7 pounds over a one year period.

South Beach Diet and ‘usual care’ control group

Both groups experienced similar results losing between 1.8 and 11.9 pounds over the year.

Other notes

The researchers also discovered that by the end of the second year the majority of the lost weight had been regained.

The studies also saw no difference between diets for improving cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, or other cardiovascular risk factors.

Senior author Dr Mark Eisenberg, Professor of Medicine at Jewish General Hospital/McGill University in Canada had this to say about the findings:

“Despite their popularity and important contributions to the multi-million dollar weight loss industry, we still do not know if these diets are effective to help people lose weight and decrease their risk factors for heart disease.”

“With such a small number of trials looking at each diet and their somewhat conflicting results, there is only modest evidence that using these diets is beneficial in the long-term.”

“A broader lifestyle intervention, which also involves doctors and other health professionals, may be more effective.”

How to live healthily?

If you don’t want to try one of those faddy diets, and why would you after seeing that they are no more effective than healthy living, but want to lose weight then read on.

Firstly you diet will need changing, out should go those fatty take aways and microwave meals. In should come the vegetables, fresh fruit and lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey and fish.

These food types are essential for healthy eating and will provide you with all the nutrients you require.

The protein in particular will ensure you stay fuller for longer, see an increase in your energy levels and burn more calories than normal. This is because protein uses more calories to process than other nutrients.

Secondly you need to cut out those soft drinks, instead you should be drinking water.

Water contains zero calories and can help you to keep your cravings under control.

If you find that water is too boring, then you could always add a slice of lemon or lime just to give it that little extra flavour.

Finally you need to look at your activity levels, which can be difficult if you lead a busy life. However, you cannot use this as an excuse, we all will have a spare 10 minutes a day.

Just make sure you make the most of whatever spare time you have available. Workout intensely and give 100% and you will soon start to reap the rewards of your hard work.

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