Right after Thanksgiving, I warned you against trying six extreme diets that promise quick weight-loss. But, as I explained last month, these unproven, fad diets are dangerous and ineffective for achieving long-term, healthy weight loss.
So–what about the more mainstream diets doctors recommend because they supposedly have some real research behind them? Are these diets really proven to work in the real world?
The answer might surprise you…
Researchers recently compared four mainstream, doctor-recommended weight loss diets: Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, and the Zone. Amazingly, the researchers found no clear-cut “winners” among these supposedly effective, “proven” weight-loss diets. In fact, these “fab four” diets are more alike than they are different. But in the end, none were particularly effective.
After one year, the patients on these “fab” diets lost anywhere from three to 11 pounds. By comparison, the control group–which followed “usual care”–lost almost 5 pounds on average after one year. (“Usual care” referred to traditional methods to promote weight loss such as low-calorie diets, behavioral weight loss intervention, nutritional counseling, or self-help materials.)
More importantly, men and women on the fab diets did not have significant differences in blood pressure, blood sugar control, or lipid levels.
Weight Watchers was slightly more effective than the usual care diet. However, men and women tended to regain the modest amounts of weight they lost after 24 months on the Atkins and Weight Watchers diets. Plus, men and women on the South Beach diet (created by the celebrity Florida heart specialist Arthur Agatston) fared no better than men and women in the control group. And surprisingly, the diet didn’t appear to have any effect on heart health.
So, despite their popularity and financial success, the “fab four” achieve very modest results in the real world. Yet men and women spend millions and millions on these fab diets each year.
But here’s why they don’t work over the long-term…
The “fab” diets–like the “fad” diets I discussed last month–don’t really pay careful attention to the science about the optimal human diet. Nor do they pay attention to the realities of today’s food supply and nutritional deficiencies. Let me put that another way…
If you follow an average American diet, which give you inadequate nutrition, how can various arbitrary, artificial restrictions really improve anything? It only limits your nutrition even further.
Instead, we have a lot of unsupported claims designed to fatten the pocketbooks of irresponsible publishers and authors. But these diets do little or nothing to help the problem of a fattening population.
I can personally tell you what does work for long-term weight loss:
- Eliminate sugars
- Restrict carbs
- Reduce portions of everything you eat
- Make sure you get enough protein and essential fats, as well as optimal levels of vitamins and minerals
If you follow these four steps, you will lose weight almost effortlessly. And improve your blood sugar and cardiovascular risk factors.
But make sure to get enough protein so you don’t lose muscle instead of fat. In addition, some regular, light exercise and perhaps even some sensible weight lifting can help you build and retain muscle during weight loss regimens. Walking, swimming, housework, and yard work can also help you maintain a healthy weight, mood, balance, and ultimately live longer.
And remember, carrying just a few extra pounds is not the problem it’s cracked up to be by the booksellers.
You can learn more about my simple and effective weight loss plan in my report, The “Top-of-the-Food-Chain” Cure for Obesity. Subscribers to my Insiders’ Cures newsletter get this report for free. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.