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WEIGHT LOSS SCORES

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

By marie Dufour. RD – Like many of my readers, I wanted to believe that there was a magic formula to lose more weight.  DIETS: High-Calcium, High-Protein, Low-Fat, High-Carb, Low-Carb, Beverly Hills… each claims its super-effectiveness in weight loss.  But what does research show?  No difference.  It’s all about the total calories.  I should have gotten a clue when, at a nutrition conference, I saw one of my colleagues wearing a pink T-shirt that said, “IT’S THE CALORIES, STUPID!” 

A recent study conducted by Dr. Frank M. Sacks, of the Harvard School of Public Health, studied four groups of dieters for two years.  Each dieter cut its daily calories by 750 Kcal.  After 6 months, all four groups averaged a 7% body weight loss.  After tow years, there was no statistical difference in weight loss or waist circumference changes between the groups.

The four groups were:

- A low-fat, average-protein diet: 20% fat, 15% protein, and 65% carbs;

- A low-fat, high-protein diet: 20% fat, 25% protein, and 55% carbs;

- A high-fat, average-protein diet: 40% fat, 15% protein, and 45% carbs; and

- A high-fat, high-protein diet: 40% fat, 25% protein, and 35% carbohydrates.

However, after two years, most participants were having difficulties sticking to their goals, and the groups still averaged a BMI of 31 to 32 Kg/m 2, in spite of high motivation, education, and personal counseling.

Interestingly, the strongest predictor of weight loss was attendance at group sessions (0.2 kg for every session attended) across all groups.

So, when you decide to go on a weight loss program, pick a plan that appeals to you, hop between plans if you like, but keep one focus:  Total calories.  CUTTING 500 CALORIES PER DAY will provide a ONE POUND PER WEEK weight loss.   Don’t feel bad if you “Cheat” on your diet: Just total up the calories. 

And for even more weight loss, go for a walk…

References:

1 – Sacks FM, et al “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates” N Engl J Med 2009; 360: 859-73.

2 – Katan MB “Weight-Loss Diets for the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity” N Engl J Med 2009; 360: 923-25.

Filed under: diet, childhood obesity, community nutrition, diet, healthy eating, healthy living, Marie Dufour RD, public health, weight control, weight loss

By marie Dufour. RD – Like many of my readers, I wanted to believe that there was a magic formula to lose more weight.  DIETS: High-Calcium, High-Protein, Low-Fat, High-Carb, Low-Carb, Beverly Hills… each claims its super-effectiveness in weight loss.  But what does research show?  No difference.  It’s all about the total calories.  I should have gotten a clue when, at a nutrition conference, I saw one of my colleagues wearing a pink T-shirt that said, “IT’S THE CALORIES, STUPID!” 

A recent study conducted by Dr. Frank M. Sacks, of the Harvard School of Public Health, studied four groups of dieters for two years.  Each dieter cut its daily calories by 750 Kcal.  After 6 months, all four groups averaged a 7% body weight loss.  After tow years, there was no statistical difference in weight loss or waist circumference changes between the groups.

The four groups were:

- A low-fat, average-protein diet: 20% fat, 15% protein, and 65% carbs;

- A low-fat, high-protein diet: 20% fat, 25% protein, and 55% carbs;

- A high-fat, average-protein diet: 40% fat, 15% protein, and 45% carbs; and

- A high-fat, high-protein diet: 40% fat, 25% protein, and 35% carbohydrates.

However, after two years, most participants were having difficulties sticking to their goals, and the groups still averaged a BMI of 31 to 32 Kg/m 2, in spite of high motivation, education, and personal counseling.

Interestingly, the strongest predictor of weight loss was attendance at group sessions (0.2 kg for every session attended) across all groups.

So, when you decide to go on a weight loss program, pick a plan that appeals to you, hop between plans if you like, but keep one focus:  Total calories.  CUTTING 500 CALORIES PER DAY will provide a ONE POUND PER WEEK weight loss.   Don’t feel bad if you “Cheat” on your diet: Just total up the calories. 

And for even more weight loss, go for a walk…

References:

1 – Sacks FM, et al “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates” N Engl J Med 2009; 360: 859-73.

2 – Katan MB “Weight-Loss Diets for the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity” N Engl J Med 2009; 360: 923-25.

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