The only thing you need to know about losing weight

March 15, 2009


There are a million diets out there, but if you want to lose weight the only thing you need to focus on is eating less. Obvious but true, and now Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, has published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that confirms what – if you have any sense – you already know. No one diet is better than any other, just find one you like and take in fewer calories than you are currently consuming. You just need to get the ratio right between the calories you burn up, and the calories you take in and the ideal diet plan would be to have 750 fewer calories each day than you are expending.

The Professor tested out various heart-healthy diets and asked the participants to also exercise 90 minutes a week. They all lost on average around 13 lbs.after six months of dieting, or about 7% of their starting weight, regardless of which diet plan they followed. As ever I am astounded that anyone would pay good money to prove something we all know – and may not like, but that’s another issue – but the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute handed over the funds for the study and they were delighted with the findings. However, most of the participants couldn’t sustain that 750 calorie mark and most by the end of the trial consuming only 225 calories less than they expended.

The researchers concluded that this target was too high, and a gradual reduction is better, and I entirely agree with them. A small reduction in calorie intake that is gradual and sustained will see the best results and a weight loss of just 5 percent can make a substantial difference to your health. So whatever diet you choose just eat less, and exercise more = boring, but effective.


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