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Earlier this month, Kathryn Doyle wrote a piece for Reuters Health on diets with the headline: “Diets work, but the brand doesn’t matter.” One need not travel far into the media sphere to hear about diets – there are commercials, gurus, ‘experts’, actual experts, various programs with a wide assortment of menus from all-fat to no-fat and no-meat to only meat. Is Kathryn Doyle right with this headline?
She cites a study recently released and notes her email from lead author, Dr. Bradley C. Johnson of Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who says that “The weight loss differences between branded diet programs were small with likely little importance to those seeking to lose weight.”
The study was fairly in-depth. They examined 48 diets, as well as no diet, and looked at BMI outcomes at 6 and 12 months, and came to the conclusion that whichever diet you pick, you are likely to have the same outcome as with any other.
Dr. Tom Elliott, Medical Director at BC Diabetes, has advised patients on weight-related issues pertaining to diabetes and says that, “All diets, when taken seriously, tend to work about the same. Weight loss, particularly sustainable weight loss, requires dedication. Signing up for a study, and paying to do so, is a marker of dedication. Then it is a matter of ensuring that the number of calories going in (food) is less than the number of calories going out (exercise). And as we all know, the more weight we lose, the fewer calories it takes to maintain that lower weight. So weight loss is easy initially then gets harder and harder. Healthy eating means eating breakfast every day as well as 2 or more other meals, not snacking particularly after dinner, and not eating for the wrong reasons – when we are tired, sad/anxious, lonely or bored.”