Finding the answer to the question, what is the best diet? Is like finding the Holy Grail. It's a question that every personal trainer, nutritionist, dietician, client, and really anyone who's looking to lose weight, want to know the answer to. Well, the wait is over as scientists believe they've finally found the answer to what could be; the best diet!
A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, analysed 11 well known diets and their effects on weight loss in an attempt to find the most effective one.
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The researchers looked at the effect each of these diets had on weight loss at both 6-month, and 12-month intervals, and found several surprising outcomes:
• Any diet was superior to no diet at all
• At Six months in, the subjects on low-carb diets lost an average of 8.73 kgs and were seen to be more effective than all other types of diets. However, this finding was not significant when compared to those on a low-fat diet who lost 7.99 kgs.
• After 12 months, subjects on low-carb and low-fat diets were pretty much matched, with those on low-carb losing 7.27 kgs compared to 7.25 kgs low-fat. These diets were superior to all other diets, and both had nearly equal effects in terms of weight loss.
• When individual diets were compared, the Atkins (10.14 kg lost) and Ornish (9.03 kg lost) diets were seen to be of the most effective at both six and 12 months in.
• In the short term, behavioral support resulted in greater additional weight loss with an additional 3.23 kgs lost. In the long term, the effect of behavioral support waned off and the effect of exercise became more apparent with 2.13 kg lost. This effect occurred regardless of what diet the participant was on.
What does this tell us?
The subjects were all overweight and obese adults and showed that any diet is better than no diet at all, with low-carb and low-fat diets having the greatest impact on weight loss in this population. The researchers found that the use of behavioral support/counselling was associated with additional weight lost six months in, while exercise showed a much greater impact 12 months into the study. Based on these findings, the authors conclude that, "the ideal diet is one that is best adhered to by
Individuals so they can stay on the diet as long as possible."
In short, the success or failure of a diet ultimately comes down to adherence, and whether that person is likely to stick to it in the long-run.
Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, et al. Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014;312(9):923-33. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.10397.
About Chris Hall
As the founder of Hall Training Systems, it is my mission to provide you with the very best personal training experience. I set up Hall Training Systems as Oxford's leading personal training service in nutrition, performance and weight loss, ensuring I can deliver the very best in training techniques.
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