People these days are obsessed with the perfect weight and figure so they follow any and every diet that they come across. Taking this phenomenon in view a comparison of several popular diets by ARS-funded researchers was done. It revealed that, in this study after one year, sticking with a diet—more than the type of a diet—is the key to losing weight.
Michael L. Dansinger, Ernst J. Schaefer, and Joi A. Gleason of the Lipid Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston conducted the study.
Four diets viz Atkins (carbohydrate restriction), Ornish (fat restriction), Weight Watchers (calorie and portion size restriction), and Zone (high-glycemic-load carbohydrate restriction and increased protein) diets were compared.
160 overweight or obese volunteers to use 1 of the 4 diets were randomly assigned. The diet book and four 1-hour instructional classes were provided to each participant. This was to help them assimilate the rules of their assigned diets. 40 participants in each of the 4 diet groups were representative—in terms of age, race, sex, body mass index, and metabolic characteristics—of the overweight population in the United States.
Only about half the volunteers completed the program while on what the authors considered to be more extreme diet plans: Atkins and Ornish diets. 65 percent were able to complete the more moderate diet plans: Weight Watchers and Zone.
Schaefer said, "The bottom line was that it wasn't so much the type of diet followed that led to successful weight loss, but the ability of participants to stick with the program for the entire year's time. The study showed that whether volunteers restricted carbohydrate calories or fat calories—whether they lowered intake overall, or balanced intake overall—everybody lost weight," says Schaefer. "Ultimately, it comes down to calorie restriction. The strongest predictor of weight loss was not the type of diet, but compliance with the diet plan that subjects were given."
According to Dansinger, "The particular diet plan the long-term dieter followed did not seem to matter that much. The long-term dieters reduced their ratio of good to bad cholesterol according to how much weight they lost."
As a conclusion by Schaefer, "We also plan to test different versions of the new USDA diet and look specifically at the results from a diet with higher and lower glycaemic index values."