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Why dieting doesn't work
About the author: 

Dieting and slimming aids are not going to make a fat person thinner, at least not in the long-run

Dieting and slimming aids are not going to make a fat person thinner, at least not in the long-run. The same goes for a thin person trying to put on weight.

Although slimming may have an immediate effect, the body will return to its "resting", or usual, weight eventually, researchers have discovered.

They found that as weight is reduced, so proportionately is energy expenditure; conversely, energy expenditure goes up with weight gain.

This means that whatever you do, your body will eventually return to its "resting" weight because of the complex relationship that seems to exist between body fat stores and metabolism. Even after four years of constant slimming, the body will still be trying to stabilize at the old weight level, other studies have shown.

Researchers from the Rockefeller University in New York studied 18 obese volunteers, who lost between 10 and 20 per cent of their body weight, and 23 "average" volunteers, who gained 10 per cent of their usual body weight. But as the two groups did so, so their metabolisms or energy expenditure rates altered to compensate. As the researcher concluded:"These compensatory changes may account for the poor long-term efficacy of treatments for obesity". Nonetheless, they added, very slight losses in weight should be attempted by those whose obesity is threatening their health.

Their findings also nail the long cherished belief that overeating makes you fat. If dieting cannot make you slim, overeating couldn't have got you in that state in the first place. Nevertheless, the study did not examine the quality of foods, to determine if lack of whole food was responsible for an inability to achieve the ideal weight (NEJM, March 9, 1995).


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