Popular Diets Compared: Keeping Weight Off is Hardest

A major study comparing four popular diets tells the sad story that even when they are paid to eat less, people lose no more than 10 pounds in a year (JAMA, March 6, 2007.) Even sadder is the news that most of them will regain the weight as soon as they go off their diet.

At some time in their lives, most North Americans have lost more than ten percent of their weight and many have kept it off for at least one year. However, almost all regain the weight they lose, and frequently add even more pounds in the process. It is extremely uncommon for a person to lose more than 20 pounds and keep it off for the rest of his or her life.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to make major, permanent lifestyle changes. Start an exercise program that involves others; you are more likely to do it for the rest of your life if your exercise is a social activity. Join a running group or bicycle club, or participate in an exercise class such as aerobic dancing. In addition to a regular exercise program, you need to change your kitchen forever. Avoid stocking foods that raise insulin to high levels, which means avoiding all refined carbohydrates: foods made with flour, white rice or milled corn, and all added sugars. Limit concentrated sources of calories such as meat, dairy products (except skim) and added fats such as oils or butter. Most of your food should be whole grains, beans and other seeds, vegetables and fruits. This is a lifelong way of eating, not a short-term diet. More


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