Fad diets no panacea for weight loss

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Scientists have discovered why fad diets only work for some people. Findings from genetic researchers suggest fad diets are no panacea for weight loss, explaining why popular diets may work for some but not for others. Genes and changes in our environment interact for weight loss success, explaining why popular diets may just not work for some.

Researchers have discovered that fad diets can fail because of individual genetic variants in metabolic behavior. Laura K. Reed, Ph.D, a researcher from the Department of Genetics at North Carolina State University, who led the study says, "Each person has a unique set of genetic and environmental factors contributing to his or her metabolic health, and as a society, we should stop looking for a panacea and start accepting that this is a complex problem that may have a different solution for each individual."

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The scientists discovered from fruit flies that genes interact with diet and our environment, expaining why weight loss should be individually tailored. Rather than focusing on appearance, diets should address fighting disease. According to Dr. Reed, "There is no one-size-fits all solution to the diseases of obesity and type-2 diabetes." Fad diets may work for some, but should not be expected to offer a widespread solution for weight loss and disease prevention.

For the study, the scientists fed fruits flies four different types of diets. In some instances the flies were sensitive to diet, but or others with specific genetic lines, none of the diets produced weight loss. The scientists studied 146 different genetic lines to find that dieting alone had little effect on weight. They suggest the future of weight loss and disease management should be individualized based on genes.

The study shows that some people can lose weight with fad diets, but for others dieting has no effect. Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics says, "This research explains why the one-size-fits-all approach offered by many diet programs can have dramatically different effects for people who try them." Genes, combined with environmental changes play a role in weight loss, explaining why fad diets are no panacea for losing weight and managing disease.

Genetics: doi:10.1534/genetics.109.113571

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Comments

Fad diets can be unhealthy and don't work. It's important to make healthy lifestyle changes that will produce healthy, lifelong results!
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