New research shows ‘vulnerable’ consumers have ‘hopeless optimism’ for commercial weight loss programmes, most lose less than five per cent of their body fat.
Many of us understand that commercial diets and weightloss programs are not necessarily effective in the long run.
However, new evidence suggests that diet programs don’t work from the get-go, with little short-term and long-term benefits.
Lead researcher for an Australian study on the effectiveness of commercial weightloss programmes, Samantha McEvedy from La Trobe University, told the Sydney Morning Herald that people expect to get something out of dieting, despite knowing it usually won’t work.
“This research shows that for the majority of people who embark on a commercial weight-loss programme, you could say that they don’t work,” McEvedy told the publication. People do expect these programmes will lead to them losing weight and they typically expect to lose between 500g and one kilo a week.”
The study analysed 1.5 million participants across 25 weightloss studies, which included 35 different diets.
The results found that 57 per cent of those who started a commercial weightloss programme lost less than five per cent of their initial body weight.
The problem with dieting, Ms McEvedy said, is that we become “overly responsive’ to the food we want and that looks good, our metabolism slows and we become hungrier.
From that study, Ms McEvedy said that consumers are holding onto a “hopeless optimism’.
“It makes them quite vulnerable – dieters are vulnerable consumers and they are often desperately seeking solutions,” she said.
While countless doctors, nutritionists and dietitians would rather we eat a healthy, fresh, balanced and wholesome diet, Ms McEvedy said we shouldn’t go ‘on a witch hunt’ against diet programs in general.
“They do have a role to play particularly if they emphasise health outcomes and if it’s about lifestyle advice and learning about how to eat healthy and healthy strategies combined with regular physical activity,” she said.
Instead of meal replacement shakes and bars, fill your everyday diet with more fruit and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes, dried beans, wholegrains and low fat dairy.
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