The Science of Diets: How to Lose Weight Effectively, According to Research

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Making food choices is hard when you don’t know who to trust. What does science say about diets? Reading the research on weight loss and diets can leave you cross-eyed and unsure what’s the best way to lose weight. Your friends have boasted about how the latest diet craze helped them lose 10 pounds in a month, yet became frustrated and regained the weight within a few months. Despite these observations, those hot trendy diets can be hard to ignore. Diets make promises of sweeping health benefits and weight loss. The truth about diets is …they don’t work! Plus, most diets make the biggest mistake of all – they assume weight loss is just about food. Here are 8 things you should know about diets and weight loss according to science.

Why Don’t Diets Work?

Popular internet diet trends cause quick weight loss through radical food restrictions that are impossible to maintain. If you manage to maintain the diet for a few weeks, you then reach a frustrating weight loss plateau and then experience steady regain. Diets don’t work as they are not helpful in establishing healthy eating patterns that you can sustain. Also, worth noting is scientific evidence of negative impacts of dieting: loss of bone mass and lean muscle, and in some cases, a decline in heart function.

8 Things You Should Know About Diets and Weight Loss, According to Science

  1. Convenience can be blamed for weight gain.

Scientific evidence shows weight gain is a challenge for so many people in North America due to the endless access to inexpensive and convenient, ultra-processed foods.

  1. Successful weight loss involves whole foods.

A research study showed that eating healthy whole foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains) was associated with long-term weight loss.

  1. Your lifestyle makes maintaining weight loss hard.

It can be extremely challenging to maintain weight loss in lifestyles that include more sedentary occupations and social environments that don’t encourage physical activity. Altering lifestyle habits is essential for healthy weight management.

  1. How much television you watch can impact your weight.

Research shows watching television may impact your weight. One study suggests it could possibly cause you to gain 0.3lb per hour.

  1. Lack of sleep promotes weight gain

Sleep disorders and weight go hand in hand. Researchers know sleep restriction increases hunger and food intake. A lack of sleep causes hormonal havoc in your body promoting weight gain; meanwhile, a poor diet or lack of exercise affects how well you sleep.

  1. Eating is used as a coping mechanism to manage stress.

Weight loss success is more than how much you move, or what’s on your fork: evidence shows our mental wellness plays a major role in our struggles with obesity.

  1. Shift in mindset away from weight loss goals is better.

Research shows when goals are aligned with your personal values, such as health improvement, instead of weight loss, it’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Successful weight loss is possible.

Know that evidence shows sustainable and healthy are markers of a successful weight loss eating plan.

What Science Says is the Best Way to Lose Weight

Research findings show a healthy diet, focusing on sufficient protein and low-glycemic foods, offers benefits to maintaining weight loss. After reviewing the clinical evidence, science says a personalized eating plan is the best approach to weight loss as a person’s environment, socioeconomics, medical status, social support, cooking skills, and job requirements are strong determining factors in diet adherence.

Are you ready to stop dieting and start losing weight in a healthy way?

A healthy diet is an eating plan that is rich in the nutrients you need to feel your best, but also rich in enjoyment. Your diet shouldn’t be restrictive or frustrating to fit into your lifestyle. A personalized eating plan is the best approach to developing long-lasting, healthy habits. For help designing a plan that will work for you, contact a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

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Contributed by Allison Tannis

Known for her deliciously geeky words, Allison’s articles and books are read around the world by those curious about where to find the most delicious (and nutritious) places to stick their forks. More at Follow @deliciouslygeeky.