The REAL Science Approved Method... Why Trend Diets don't Work!
Thursday, July 04, 2013
I just had to share this article since ive heard alot of people talking about trying these so called "Fad Trendy Diets"... Going Gluten Free (When your not faced with Celiac Disease) or Atkins (High Fat/High Protein - Extremely low Carb) or the like is just plain stupid! Find out why...
The Science Approved Method
By: Timothy Caulfield
Toronto Star, Published on Tue Jun 04 2013
It seems like every season is diet season. Slim down for the holidays! Get great abs for bikini season! New Year, new you!
All we need is a back-to-school diet push and the diet calendar will be complete.
But while fad diet seem to work — usually supported by a boatload of testimonials, including ridiculously beautiful and absurdly slim celebrities (I’m thinking of you, Gwyneth) — the good scientific data tells us that there are no miracle cures out there.
The science is grim: A 2009 article in The New England Journal of Medicine reviewed all the relevant research, and found that after two to four years, most dieters put most of the weight back on.
Even diets that have a veneer of scientific legitimacy have little real research to support claims of long-term weight loss. A recent survey found that going gluten free is now Canada’s most popular diet. People often assume there is science behind the idea. And, no surprise, the market has jumped on the trend: Gluten-free products are everywhere.
But, in fact, there is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that the consumption of wheat is the cause of the current obesity problem. There is nothing magical, from a weight loss perspective, to avoiding wheat. Indeed, some studies have shown that going gluten free can — again, over the long term — lead to an increase in weight. This happens for a number of reasons, including the fact that many gluten-free foods are high in calories (and, incidentally, low in nutritional value).
Also, people often incorrectly assume that gluten-free is the same as low-calorie or healthy. This happens with organic foods, too. It causes a so-called health halo that makes people think they can eat with a degree of impunity. But a gluten-free-organic-locally-gr
own-free-range-vegan calorie is still a calorie. Eat more than you need and you will put on weight.
So why do so many diets seem to work? Why does the apple cider vinegar diet keep Megan Fox slim? Why are there so many willing to testify to the effectiveness of every new weight loss approach?
Simple. A new diet, whether it is focused on wheat, vinegar, or spider egg husks, makes us think about what we are putting in our mouths. Also, some diets force a total change in eating habits (no wheat!) or the consumption of foods that are not always easy to find. As a result, we eat fewer calories. And, naturally, this leads to short-term weight loss and makes it appear like the new, magical diet, is, in fact, new and magical.
But over time — and almost inevitably — diets fail. The weight comes back. The diet routine can’t be maintained or we inadvertently find ways to eat more calories — often in ways we don’t even notice. Our bodies are incredibly efficient calorie consumption machines. They want us to keep the pounds on. This trait provided a fine evolutionary advantage 20,000 years ago, but in a world where the average restaurant meal provides more that half the calories needed for an entire day it is a biological curse.
Here are my rules for assessing any new approach to weight loss:
1) Assume that all diet fads and trends are wrong and, over the long haul, will not work. This may sound cynical, but history and the best available evidence tells us that this point of view will be correct almost all the time.
2) Remember that testimonials, even a lot of testimonials, should always be viewed with suspicion. In fact, ignore them. Gwyneth looks great. Ditto gluten-free Zooey Deschanel. But that ain’t scientific data.
3) There has never been a miracle-diet-breakthrough that will make sustained weight loss easy. (And I bet there won’t be one in my lifetime).
So whether it is the holiday, bikini or New Year diet season, don’t get fooled by weight-loss gimmicks. A successful diet requires healthy lifestyle changes that can be sustained forever. Forever! And because most of us live in the real world of restaurants, neighbourhood parties, no time, no sleep, stressful jobs, and busy families, sticking to a trendy diet is doomed to failure.
Aim for a simple, evidence-based approach that you can integrate into the way you really live: Avoid the junk; keep a diet diary; watch portion sizes; know how many calories you need; eat real, nutritious food (aim for 50 per cent fruits and vegetables); be realistic; and, most of all, be patient.
Timothy Caulfield is Canada Research Chair in Health, Law and Policy at the University of Alberta and author of The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness.