T Nation

Dieting Does Not Work!

That’s all we need, for a bunch of medical scientists to tell everyone that dieting doesn’t work. Is this true? Of course it is! I think around here we all know that going on a diet doesn’t work in the long run, it’s the positive lifestyle changes you implement that take and keep the fat off.

The problem is, I think most obese people will interpret this piece of news as meaning that a) it’s not their fault they’re fat, b) it’s impossible for them to stop being fat, and c) they might as well enjoy it and eat more!

Here’s the story:

[center]Scientists Say Dieting Does Not Work[/center]
Article Date: 10 Apr 2007 - 6:00 PDT

US scientists conducting a comprehensive review of dieting research have concluded that dieting does not work.

The study is published in the April edition of American Psychologist, the journal of the American Psychological Association.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), reviewed 31 long-term studies lasting between 2 to 5 years.

UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study, Traci Mann said:

“You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back.”

“We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more,” she added.

The researchers found a very small minority of study participants managed to sustain weight loss, while the majority put all the weight back on, and more in the longer term.

“Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people,” said Dr Mann.

Dr Mann and colleagues sought to determine the long term effects of dieting and address the question “Would they have been better off to not go on a diet at all?”.

So they analyzed every study they could find that followed people on diets for 2 to 5 years. Studies that take less than 2 years are “too short to show whether dieters have regained the weight they lost,” they said.

They discovered that it would have been better for most of them if they had not gone on a diet at all.

“Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back,” explained Dr Mann.

Their findings show that:

– People on diets typically lose 5 to 10 per cent of their weight in the first 6 months.
– But 33 to 66 per cent regain more than what they lose within 4 to 5 years.

Dr Mann and colleagues suspect the real situation is actually even worse; the figures do not really reflect reality, making diet studies look better than they are. They say there are a number of reasons for this:

– Many participants phone or mail their results in themselves, without an impartial assessor.
– A lot of studies have a below 50 per cent follow up rate; and the people who put on a lot of weight are less likely to stay in touch.

UCLA graduate student of psychology and co-author of the study, Janet Tomiyama said that “Several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain.”

One study in particular that they looked at found that men and women who took part in a weight reduction programme gained significantly more weight than those who did not over the same period of time.

Tomiyama mentioned another study, this time looking at links between lifestyle and weight in 19,000 healthy older men over four years. This study found that, “One of the best predictors of weight gain over the four years was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started,” she said.

Also, in many studies with control groups, the people in the control group very often were better off than the participants who dieted.

Dr Mann suggests that eating in moderation and exercise do make a difference. Although they were not looking at exercise in particular, Dr Mann said that:

“Exercise may well be the key factor leading to sustained weight loss. Studies consistently find that people who reported the most exercise also had the most weight loss.”

One study following obese patients discovered that:

– Among those followed for under 2 years, 23 per cent of patients had regained their weight loss.
– Among those followed for more than 2 years, 83 per cent had regained their weight loss.

Another study found that 50 per cent of dieters weighed 11 pounds (5 kilos) more than their starting weight 5 years after their diet.

Among the health hazards of repeated weight loss and regain are cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and altered immune function, said Dr Mann and colleagues.

They said more research is needed on the effects of weight loss and regain on health, and say scientists do not fully understand the underlying factors involved in this complex relationship.

Dr Mann quoted her mother, who herself has tried to diet many times, without success. Dr Mann’s mother said her daughter’s findings were “obvious”.

Although this study reviewed 31 long term dieting projects, they did not look into specific diets.

The researchers are of the opinion that weight loss programmes are not good value for money in the treatment of obesity.

“The benefits of dieting are too small and the potential harm is too large for dieting to be recommended as a safe, effective treatment for obesity,” said Dr Mann.

Between 1980 and 2000, the proportion of obese Americans has doubled, from 15 to 31 per cent of the population.

Source:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthnews.php?newsid=67422

I saw that earlier today. It cracks me up that a scientific study is needed to figure this out. What a waste of money.

Cool, I’m returning to eating only chips, pizza and beer.

See you at the gym!

Let them be fat, let them be happy. That’s more hot lean chicks for my hot lean body.

Wow.
Everyone at my lab is laughing at this.

Well, to be fair, they weren’t scientists, they were psychologists.

They actually confirmed what we all know, “dieting” causes some easy weight loss which is then quickly reversed by eating like the fat fucking slob you were to gain the weight in the first place.

hmmmm,
Eat bad foods = gain weight
Eat good foods = lose weight
What happens when we eat bad foods again?

Why can’t people realize that going on a diet is a short term solution to a life long problem? If eating twinkies for 20 years made you look like a cabbage patch kid, you can’t eat grapefruit for a week and look like a GI Joe.

I hate fat people.

[quote]tveddy wrote:
hmmmm,
Eat bad foods = gain weight
Eat good foods = lose weight
What happens when we eat bad foods again?

Why can’t people realize that going on a diet is a short term solution to a life long problem? If eating twinkies for 20 years made you look like a cabbage patch kid, you can’t eat grapefruit for a week and look like a GI Joe.

I hate fat people.[/quote]

If only more people who need to lose weight thought this way.

[quote]tveddy wrote:
hmmmm,
Eat bad foods = gain weight
Eat good foods = lose weight
What happens when we eat bad foods again?

Why can’t people realize that going on a diet is a short term solution to a life long problem? If eating twinkies for 20 years made you look like a cabbage patch kid, you can’t eat grapefruit for a week and look like a GI Joe.

I hate fat people.[/quote]

You apparently share the same hatred that I have for stupid people for fat people…usually people are fat and stupid though.

[quote]conorh wrote:
Well, to be fair, they weren’t scientists, they were psychologists.

[/quote]

shhhhdont tell the psychologists that, they get awful upset

[quote]blake2616 wrote:
tveddy wrote:
hmmmm,
Eat bad foods = gain weight
Eat good foods = lose weight
What happens when we eat bad foods again?

Why can’t people realize that going on a diet is a short term solution to a life long problem? If eating twinkies for 20 years made you look like a cabbage patch kid, you can’t eat grapefruit for a week and look like a GI Joe.

I hate fat people.

You apparently share the same hatred that I have for stupid people for fat people…usually people are fat and stupid though.[/quote]

I hate stupid people too, its just that this was a fat thread. When a psychologist does a study to find out that dumb people score badly on the ACT I’ll vent on stupid people.

I agree with you all (who wouldn’t!?).

I notice many websites have picked up on this piece of news, yet when I’ve read their spin on the story I haven’t found one to say “yeah, this study is correct, but fat people should know that it’s behaviour changes that keep the weight off”. They’re just saying “diets don’t work”, and leaving it at that.

Now that is what pisses me off the most.

It is a problem with the title. It says nothing at all while seeming to say everything. I know people that will read only the title, and draw a conclusion.

I think the study is a good one in that it can help people see that they have to stop eating deep fried double cheeseburgers on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t say that anywhere.

Down with dumb fat people!

[quote]Arioch wrote:
It is a problem with the title. It says nothing at all while seeming to say everything. I know people that will read only the title, and draw a conclusion.[/quote]

Yep, that’s exactly it. Happens with most news, I’ve noticed.

[quote]Miserere wrote:
Arioch wrote:
It is a problem with the title. It says nothing at all while seeming to say everything. I know people that will read only the title, and draw a conclusion.

Yep, that’s exactly it. Happens with most news, I’ve noticed.[/quote]

Excellent observation! The popularity of USAToday is that it is a collection of headlines followed by a paragraph or two worth of info. Yet, people feel informed after reading it.

The same is for those ‘tickers’ at the bottom of the news channels. Those things are great to give you a sports score but tell you nothing about the true story.

Unfortunately, people would rather spit out a blurb than to get completely informed about a topic. And by completely I mean have some sort of idea of what is actually going on. You don’t need to get a degree in the topic.

Don’t you want to slap the kind of people that spew this nosense. Even worse are the ones that believe it.

The really truly sad part is that no one will ever give a fuck. Except the doctors who are going to be making shitloads of money putting stomach staples on people. Oh and McDonalds.

You want a study thats a waste of money…then this one doesn’t even come close to one I recently heard about in the UK where they spent 2 million pounds(not sure on the exchange rate for dollars) over a year figuring out how many condoms a guy could get on without impeding performance

Think it worked out to be somewhere in the hundreds…if I remember correctly…wonder if that weighed it down

I just keep going back to what Dan John said. “It isn’t a lifestyle, its an all out battle.” Dieting DOES work…if you stick to it. That’s the key. This includes the follow up meals to the diet. Its all a matter of language and technicalities, then again what isn’t nowadays.

[quote]dennis3k wrote:
You want a study thats a waste of money…then this one doesn’t even come close to one I recently heard about in the UK where they spent 2 million pounds(not sure on the exchange rate for dollars)[/quote]

About $3.85 million.

That’s a lot of trojans…

Just this weekend my mother-in-law was relating this study to me because I’m on the V Diet now (day 9 for anyone curious).

And the truly sad part is that she’s not an unhealthy inactive person, she’s incredibly healthy and in shape for a woman in her 60’s. However, she gets most of health nutrition information from mostly pop sources.

I think it is those types of people that this sort of over-simplified, doesn’t-really-say-much-of-anything, “information” will negatively effect.

So I spent about a half hour explaining to her how the study was technically accurate but does nothing to expand on long term clean eating and exercise. And how it’s ignoring of the test subjects post diet habits barely tells half the story.