As the old year comes to a close and everyone begins to look forward to the beginning of a New Year, many people are also anticipating the beginning of their New Year’s resolutions. For numerous individuals, New Year’s resolutions will involve vows to cut back on their food intake, get on a diet and exercise regimen, and drop at least a few pounds. The question that hangs in the air for those who are anticipating the start of a new diet lies in exactly which diet might happen to be right for them and which diet holds the key to helping them lose the most weight.
Certainly, there are numerous diets available and it seems like every few months a new diet or eating plan has emerged to become the new successful diet rage. Is it possible that all the “popular” diets can help you lose weight or are there certain diets that can help you lose more weight than others?
This is the question that a group of researchers sets out to answer recently. Over a period of two months, 160 individuals were monitored closely as they followed a supervised program. The varying factor among all 160 program participants was that they were allowed to choose whichever diet suited their fancy. Researchers waited and watched in anticipation to learn which diet or diets would prove to be most successful.
What they learned at the conclusion of the study proved to be quite interesting. The data they collected not only helped them to learn more about which diet programs tend to be more successful in terms of total weight loss but also which diet programs more individuals were more likely to stick with for long term weight loss and maintenance.
While the study participants were allowed to choose their favorite diet plan, most participants opted for one of the following: Atkins, Weight Loss, Ornish and the Zone. Even though initial data was conducted after just two months, researchers continued to study the remaining participants. They discovered that after a period of time more than half of those participants who opted for diet plans that focused on low carbs and high fat, such as the Atkins plan, dropped out. Additionally, approximately the same percentage of individuals who chose the Ornish plan, which focuses on low fat and high carb vegetarian foods, also quit their diets. Weight Watchers participants fared moderately better, with about two-thirds of that group’s participants sticking with it. The Zone participants showed similar results.
So, which diet plans performed best overall in terms of total weight loss? Surprisingly, they all performed about the same. Those individuals participating in the Ornish plan who were able to stick with their diet for the entire year achieved a weight loss rate of about 6%; the highest of all groups. Atkins came in at about 4%, with Weight Watchers and the Zone performing at an average of 5% weight loss. Health risk factors related to obesity were an entirely different matter; however. In terms of heart disease risk, Weight Watchers participants decreased their risk by 15%, while other diet plans hovered in the 12% range. The Ornish diet plan participants, who showed a higher overall weight loss, showed a lower decrease in risk of heart disease, at just 7%.
Overall; however, researchers concluded that in the end, there is no one magic diet. If you’re planning to resolve to lose weight in the New Year, your best strategy is still the same regardless of which diet plan you ultimately choose. Eat sensibly, cut back on portions, drink plenty of water, participate in a moderate exercise routine, and find a diet buddy to support you in your weight loss goals.