Over the next few blogs I am going to talk about the approaches to weight loss that current science is starting to demystify, and I hope to present some common myths. I will present the studies behind them, as well as giving some practical advice on maintaining a healthy weight throughout life.
As we are all aware most diets don’t work. In that regard I want to tackle the idea of calorie restriction. There is a huge amount of evidence that calorie restriction can reduce weight in the short term but when we return to our normal lifestyle all the weight lost tends to be put straight back on. Multiple studies have shown that at 6 months of disciplined weight loss through calorie restriction the process of weight reduction slows and then reverses rapidly. One of the reasons for this is that we are wired to eat more and do less in order to conserve energy. This is something we are designed to do through thousands of years of evolution. This is one of the important reasons why calorie restriction does not work.
As I will talk about in a later blog, what we eat is far more important for weight loss, than what we do. One of the most significant studies in this regard was published in 2007 by Marion Franz. This involved a systematic review of 80 weight loss studies and found that although the largest weight loss was amongst those participants who did very low-calorie meal replacements over a protracted period, they were also the group who regained the weight the most quickly. This is shown repeatedly across multiple studies. Fundamentally if you lose weight through calorie restriction and exercise very often it becomes extremely difficult to maintain and you will often regain more weight than has been lost. These findings come from an excellent book called The Diet Fix by Dr Zoe Harcombe, and the next series of blogs will highlight the correct strategies for sustainable weight loss.
James Tomkies MCSP HCPC
Registered Chartered Physiotherapist