Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Big-name diets only work for a while

13 November 2014, 12:14

Abuja - There are plenty of famous-name diets for weight loss, but none stands out from the pack when it comes to lasting results, a new review suggests.

Looking at a dozen clinical trials, researchers found that three big-name diets- Atkins, Weight Watchers and the Zone- were all "modestly" effective over the course of a year. In studies that compared the plans head-to-head, people lost anywhere from 4 to 10 pounds, on average.

Meanwhile, a fourth commercial diet – South Beach – was no better than traditional advice to eat a low-fat diet, the study authors said.

No clear winner

And in the few trials that lasted two years – all looking at Atkins or Weight Watchers – people often regained some of the pounds they lost.

"From our results, no weight-loss diet came across as a clear winner," said study leader Renee Atallah, a research assistant at Jewish General Hospital/McGill University in Montreal.

Atallah and her colleagues report the findings online in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes.

A registered dietician who was not involved in the research said he is glad more and more clinical trials are putting commercial diets to the test.

"Americans have been jumping on these diets and spending a lot of money," said Jim White, a spokesman for the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"We need studies like these to know whether they actually work in the long term," White said.

As most dieters know, he noted, "keeping the weight off is the hardest part."

For the study, which was funded by the Canadian government, Atallah's team looked at 12 clinical trials that tested at least one of four popular diets: Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers and the Zone.

All of the trials lasted at least one year, and most compared one commercial program against "usual care" for overweight patients, such as advice on low-fat eating. Two trials compared Atkins, Weight Watchers and the Zone head-to-head.

It turned out that tested against usual care, Weight Watchers was the most consistent – helping people lose an average of 8 to 13 pounds in the first year. Only one trial tested South Beach – a lower-carb diet – and it was no more effective than the American Heart Association's recommendations on low-fat eating.

When it came to Atkins – the most famous of the low-carb diets – the results were more mixed, Atallah's team reported. The weight loss at one year ranged from about 7 pounds to 24 pounds, but Atkins was not consistently better than low-fat diets.

And in the head-to-head trials, Atkins, Weight Watchers and Zone all showed similar effects: They helped people lose an average of 4 to 10 pounds in a year.

"The two head-to-head trials gave the strongest evidence regarding these three diets, since they were all directly compared," Atallah said.

Further trials like that would be helpful, she added- and ideally, they would look at all the famous-name diets out there, and throw exercise into the mix.

Diet changes one can live with

For now, people who want to shed excess pounds should choose diet changes they can live with for the long haul, both Atallah and White said.

"In the short term, any diet- even the Twinkie diet- will work if you're cutting calories," White noted.

But the key, he said, is to adopt a balanced diet that gives you the nutrients you need- fibre, protein and "good" unsaturated fats – and does not leave you feeling "deprived".

It's also important to have enough energy to exercise, White added. And that might prove difficult if you cut too many carbohydrates.

"Carbohydrates do not make you fat," White stressed. The problem, he said, is when people overindulge, and choose the wrong carbs – opting for processed snack foods, for example, instead of fibre-rich vegetables, fruits and grains.

White also pointed to yet another component of lasting weight loss: patience.

"People often want quick fixes," he said. "But in my experience, most of our successful clients are those whose weight goes down slowly."

- Health24

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...