Are weight loss strategies effective?

There is little evidence that current weight loss strategies are very effective. Well over 30 percent of Americans are overweight and the number is growing. Those who do lose weight will drop an average of five pounds. Ninety-five percent of those who lose weight will regain it within five years. The more time and money we spend on weight control, the fatter we get.

How did we get on this diet and weight control roller coaster? It didn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect a quick fix to work. For all of the hype about weight loss methods, there is only one “best” way to control weight. That way is eating less and exercising more and it is a message that no one wants to hear. Even that strategy is more complicated than it sounds. Some people are unable to do it; others are unwilling. All of us approach the process with individual needs, goals and backgrounds that will influence our success or failure in weight control.

All of the news is not bad, however. There are programs, products and people who can help us achieve our weight management goals.

Yo-yo dieting doesn’t work. Repeatedly losing and gaining weight can be as harmful as being overweight, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. People who constantly change weight have higher rates of heart disease and higher death rates. Up and down weight management causes a loss of muscle tissue as well as fat. Severe dieting lowers the rate at which you burn calories. The body tries to protect itself against the nutritional famine being imposed upon it.

Any weight control program that eliminates the individual’s responsibility for eating wisely and exercising is likely to fail. Diet pills and other other-the-counter products either suppress the appetite or raise the rate at which calories are burned by stimulating the central nervous system. They may be effective on a short-term basis, but they also carry risks such as high blood pressure, dehydration, nervousness, nutrient deficiencies and dependency. Most people keep the weight off only as long as they take the pills.

Special foods (grapefruit, for example), diets (The Zone, cabbage soup) and supplements (chromium picolinate, to name one of many) are purported to be scientific solutions to weight loss. Some of them are supposed to trick your body into expending energy at a faster than normal rate. There are plenty of individuals who will testify to the merits of these pproaches, but there is no scientific evidence to support their claims. Special-food diets limit the choices of foods and most are impossible to maintain over a period of time.

Liquids and packaged meal replacements are designed to control the number of calories taken in by replacing regular meals and snacks. Like special foods, these diet products reduce or eliminate the flexibility of choosing foods. By themselves, the products cannot help a person lose weight and maintain the loss. Most companies offer their products with low-calorie eating plans and exercise programs. But low-calorie eating plans and exercise can result in weight loss without the packaged products.

Extremely low-calorie diets — less than 1,200 a day — will result in immediate, but temporary weight loss. They may also cause nutrient deficiencies. The reduction in weight will likely be due to fluid loss rather than fat.

Source: Ivahoe Newswire

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