world of dieting for weight loss

The confusing world of dieting for weight loss


Many people, especially after the holidays and beginning a New Year, think about losing weight. But there is so much confusing and contradictory information on the internet, in books, and on television. Many of us are confused as to what really is a good way to lose weight..

History of dieting

One early dieting “fad”—a low carbohydrate, high fat diet—was popularized in the 1860s in London. Since then, the trends in dieting have shifted many times. We may think that when we see a “new” diet advertised, that it really is something new. But likely, it has been tried before and, because it wasn’t successful for many people in the long term, the fad changed to something else.

In recent times—in the 1990s—the big focus was on low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets. At the time, it was widely believed that carbohydrates were relatively harmless. The health campaigns worked in that overall  fat consumption went down, but despite that, obesity became much more prevalent. It became clear over time that the low-fat diet was not the best, and the trend has shifted again. Now, high-fat, low-carbohydrates diets are seen as the best.

Latest from The Obesity Society

One would think that after all the research, experts would agree on what works best, but that is not the case. At a recent meeting of The Obesity Society, a Stanford University study showed that as long as the number of calories was constant in both diets, that either a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet were equally effective. The other large study showed that the low-carbohydrate diet was better for keeping off weight.

Diet studies are difficult

Many research studies are short-term, and few studies follow people over a year to see if they manage to keep the weight off. Unless the experimental volunteers are kept in a laboratory environment for a long time (rarely done), it is hard to know how well the participants kept to their assigned diets.

Why people respond differently to diets

A diet that works for one person will not work so well for another. Some people do well on a “ketogenic” hi-fat diet while others do better on gluten-free diets or Paleo diets or just intermittent fasting. Scientists do not know why there is such wide individual variation, but that is the way it is.

Focus on this

The basic message is to find a diet you like, and stick to it. You may have to experiment with several different diets to find one that you like. The diet has to be gratifying in some ways, not just deprivation.

The best overall advice, whatever diet you choose, is to avoid processed food, diminish simple sugars and replace refined grains (like white bread) with whole grain products where you actually see the grains.  Focusing more on the quality of the food may be your best option.

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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