Diet Fads Show No Evidence of Long-Term Benefits

By Mike Pomranz |

© ClassicStock / Alamy

South Beach, Weight Watchers, Zone, Atkins—all these diets can help you lose weight, but whether any long-term benefits actually exist is still up in the air.

A Canadian research team looked at these four popular diets to determine their short-term and long-term effects. Though the group determined that all these diets were “modestly efficacious” in the short-term, they decided “these benefits are not sustained long-term.”

The findings, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, were determined by comparing the results of previous trials involving the four diets.

Even the short-term results were somewhat suspect. Though all the diets helped subjects lose weight, Weight Watchers was the only one of the four that “consistently demonstrated greater efficacy at reducing weight at 12 months” compared to simply following “usual care.”

In the long term, evidence showed that dieters on Atkins and Weight Watchers had regained weight at 24 months. The team wasn’t able to make a determination on the other two diets. Additionally, the study looked at statistics on lipid levels, blood pressure and glycemic control measures, once again finding little to hang their hat on.

In conclusion, researchers decided, “Although North Americans spend millions of dollars in the weight loss industry, available data are conflicting and insufficient to identify one popular diet as being more beneficial than the other.” Turns out instead of spending our money on weight loss, we should hand it over to scientists. At least, I think that’s their conclusion.

[h/t Food Navigator]

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