I love research. Part of my daily routine involves reading the latest news & research headlines as I inhale breakfast after my run. As the traffic to this website has grown over the years (yay!) I’ve realized I have a very cool opportunity to share information with readers in a unbiased fashion. Often times you can read an article touting the ‘miracle’ properties of some food, diet or exercise program and find out later that the company itself sponsored the research.
Last week a meta-analysis came out that examined the data from over 50 studies which included about 7,300 individuals. A meta-analysis means no new data is collected, but a researcher will go back and pull data from similar studies to combine and analyze for trends. The researchers in this meta-analysis wanted to assess the relative effectiveness of different popular diets in improving weight loss.
Overweight participants were randomly assigned to either low-carb diets, low-fat diets or no diets. Compared with no diet, low-carbohydrate diets had a median difference in weight loss of 19.2 lbs. and low-fat diets had similar estimated effects (17.6 lbs.). Weight-loss differences between specific types of diets were minimal. The Atkins diet resulted in a 3.8 lbs. greater weight loss than the Zone diet at 6-month follow-up.
In the end it didn’t matter what type of diet the participants were on. All that mattered was that they were watching what they were eating. When looking for the ‘best’ diet everyone know’s someone who’s lost 50 pounds going low-carb, or paleo, or atkins, or Mediterranean. There are success stories for every type of diet because, in the end, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference what diet you follow if you are eating an appropriate amount of calories, eating real foods, and exercising regularly. It’s baffling to me that the diet industry still makes millions of dollars a year taking advantage of the fact that people just don’t want to believe it’s that simple (yet incredibly difficult at times!)
Have you ever followed a specific diet?