Why diets don't work

2nd February 2021

Over the years, there have been many diets introduced to help people lose weight; some restrict fat, while others restrict carbohydrates. Some of these diets have been trending more than others and have even been promoted by influencers and celebrities.

Aside from the seemingly most obvious incentive being that they aid in losing weight fast, some can also be associated with health benefits such as improved cholesterol and blood pressure. But truth be told, these benefits soon disappear after the diet has come to an end.

A large study published in a well respected medical journal (british medical journal) analaysed 121 trials that in total recruited just under 22,000 overweight or obese adults who were trying different diets.

The trials looked at 14 popular diets including Atkins, weight watchers and slimming world and the long term effects of these on health benefits and weight loss.

To summarise the results, modest weight loss and improved cardiovascular health was seen with most diets over a 6 month period. However, most of the improvements and benefits gained disappeared at 12 months!

Here are some of the reasons why diets don't work in the long term

  1. They are too restrictive

    Restricting yourself from foods you love will only make you crave them more. Even if you manage to restrict yourself for a short period of time, it will not work long term.

  2. The food is unappealing

    Recipes and meals suggested by certain meal plans can be plain, bland, simple and boring, making them hard to stick to.

  3. Can lead to reduced physical exercise

    With some restrictive diets cutting out certain food groups, they can make you feel fatigued, which may lead to reducing your ability and desire to exercise.

  4. They are not sustainable

    Essentially, restricting yourself is not sustainable. After the diet is over and you have reached your goals, you may feel as though it is ok to relax and return to your pre-diet eating habits. This can once again lead to weight gain.

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