The best weight loss diet is not what you think

Sep 3 2014 - 3:36pm
There is no best branded weight loss diet

Do you have a favorite weight loss diet plan? If so you may be surprised at what researchers found when they compared weight loss plans including Weight Watcher, South Beach Diet and more.

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It turns out claims about weight loss and the best diet for keeping slim and tackling obesity might all be folly. A new report shows it doesn't matter what branded diet you choose. The trick to weight loss is sticking to it according to a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

All weight loss diets work if.....

The study authors say brand diets are really all the same, with little difference in weight loss. It seems any trademarked weight loss program will work equally well...that is if you stick to it.

Examples of "branded" diets studied included:

  • Atkins
  • Weight Watchers
  • Zone
  • Jenny Craig
  • LEARN
  • Nutrisystem
  • Ornish
  • Volumetrics
  • Rosemary Conley
  • Slimming World and South Beach

Bradley Johnston, the study’s lead author who is an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, and clinical epidemiologist and scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) explains the investigation is the first to compare all "branded" diets with respect to weight loss using an evidence-based approach.

The study

The research found which diet program chosen made little difference in weight loss. Weight loss programs that also included exercise and behavioral counseling were somewhat better.

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The study looked at more than 7,200 overweight or obese adults from 48 random clinical trials whose average age was 46.

Geoff Ball, associate professor and an obesity expert in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta who was also involved in the study said the research was needed. There has been no data regarding weight loss with the popular diets.

After accounting for adherence, there was no difference in amount of weight loss between people on low-carb diets versus low-fat diets.

After a year exercise made the biggest difference in weight loss. At 6-months, behavioral support was associated with more weight loss the researchers reported.

Take home message

The take home message from the JAMA published study for anyone trying to lose weight is that there is no diet that works better than the other when it comes to choosing between popular options. Now we know it's perfectly fine to pick a a weight loss program that makes us happy - the key to making sure any diet works is to run (or walk at a fast pace) with it and don't quit.

Image credit: Pixabay

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