Americans spend tens of billions of dollars a year in their quest for losing weight, and getting fit. As I’ve said before, there are a number of different approaches to dieting, and a number of these approaches will produce results. The key is in finding an approach that works for YOU, and one you can be CONSISTENT with.
Listed here, for you, are some of the most popular diets available today, some information about them, and the results of some studies done by some of the top universities in the country. The studies followed groups of people following one of the specific diets listed, and compared the weight loss results of each group of dieters after extended periods of time. So which diet will shed the most pounds after a year? Keep on reading to find out…the results may surprise you!
Atkins Diet (low carb)
A high protein diet, encourages some form of meat at every meal, and restricts carbohydrates.
Weight Watchers (low fat)
Emphasizes portion control. Encourages grains, fruits, vegetables, and modest servings of meat.
40/30/30 ratio theoretically stabilizes hormones that trigger hunger and weight gain.
Prescribes grains, vegetables, and sources of healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts.
Ornish Diet (Low fat vegetarian)
Recommends eliminating nuts, meat, and fish.
Low Carb vs. Low Fat vs. Mediterranean
Pounds lost at six months: Low carb 14 lbs, WW 10lbs, Mediterranean 10 lbs
Final loss (two years): Low carb 12 lbs, WW 7 lbs, Mediterranean 10 lbs
Low Carb vs. Low Fat vs. Zone vs. Ornish
Pounds lost at six months: Low carb 14 lbs, WW 9 lbs, Zone 6 lbs, Ornish 6 lbs
Final loss (one year): Low carb 10, WW 6 lbs, Zone 4 lbs, Ornish 5 lbs
Low Fat vs. Exercise
Pounds lost at six weeks: WW 6 lbs, Exercise 2 lbs
Final loss (three months): WW 9 lbs, Exercise 3 lbs
So what does this mean for you?
Well, by looking at the numbers, you can see that all of the diets produced results. And, with the exception of the subjects following the Mediterranean diet, the dieters tended to gain some of the weight they had lost back over the long term. This is most likely because they failed to follow the diet as strictly over time as they had in the beginning.
This is a problem most dieters have with most diets…consistency. Everyone charges out of the gate ready to cut down on carbs, fat, or to consume the magic ratio, only to find that after a period of time this way of eating is something they can’t maintain over the long term. It’s not a change they’re willing to make with the rest of their life.
My advice to you is the same as always…choose something that’s right for YOU. Choose foods you like, eliminate the refined ones, and consume in MODERATION in combination with EXERCISE. The above diets work because they control the amount, and in most cases, the type of food being eaten. As should be evident from the results, the control part is much more important than the type of food being eaten.
So take control of what you eat. If one of theses diets works for you, then GREAT! Pick it, and stick with it. If none of them float your boat, no problem. Choose the foods that work for you, control how much you eat, and be consistent. Combine your efforts with some exercise, commit to sticking with it for at least a year, and watch what happens.
James Steffy, CSCS
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