SFEL, Part 1 Why Diets Fail You chapter 1
Thursday, December 05, 2019
Chapter 1 – Diets Don’t Work
How does one define “work”?
• For me, a diet works if I lose weight and keep it off
• For a diet company CEO, a diet works if people lose any weight at all for any length of time.
• For obesity researchers – diets work if the test subjects lose slightly more weight than those who are not dieting.
When people do diet there is a tendency to lose weight, (an average of 5 – 15 pounds) the first 4 – 6 months of dieting; no matter what type of diet they may try.
Diets do lead to short term weight loss. How people don’t lose enough weight, meaning they do not reach their goal, and they do not keep it off. Most studies only account for the first 4 to 6 months of the dieting. This is the period where a small amount of weight loss is achieved rather quickly.
The World Health Organization (WHO) uses BMI, using height and weight, to determine weight:
under18.5 =underweight over 25 = overweight over 30 = obese
Originally, the goal of a diet was for you to get to your “ideal weight”. In the 1940s, there was a chart for how much you should weigh based upon your height. There was given a range that was determined for your body frame (small, medium, and large). However, for many, these numbers were unrealistic and in reality, not many were able to achieve their goal.
So, when dieting instead of aiming for that ‘ideal weight’, we are told to lose a certain number of pounds or to lose a percentage of your starting weight. Often because so many we not even able to meet the percentage, the amount of what percentage to lose has been lowered. This then makes it seem like a diet is successful because the participants are able to meet the goal weight which has been lowered several times in order to make it achievable.
There are four weights that we determine when we diet:
1. Goal weight for the diet
2. Dream weight
3. Acceptable weight - weight you could accept even if you are not happy about it
4. Disappointing weight - not successful in anyway
Have you ever wondered how successful people are at keeping off the weight when they finish a diet? There are reasons why diet representatives do not like to provide information on the effectiveness of the diet either short-term or the number of people who completed the diet:
1. It is too costly and/or difficult to collect information
2. Dieters don’t need this information because they have lots of experience and knowledge of diets.
3. Dieters would be discouraged if they are provided with realistic outcome data.
Flaws in research:
1.People who start and finish studies are not typical dieters. Many who want to join a study are rejected before the study even begins because they need to do a try-out for 30 days first. Many who do make it into the study, do not stay on the diet for the full duration of the study. Often these participants will stay on the diet for 6 – 12 months, and then do not return for follow-up 1 to 2 years later, in other words, they drop out of the study.
2. Most participants are not weighed in person by the researchers at the end of the study. And some participants:
a. Guess what their weight is rather than weigh themselves
b.Have an inaccurate scale
c. Tend to say they weigh less than what they actually do.
3. 20 – 65% of participants went on another diet while the original diet was being studied. This makes it appear the diet was successful, but the participant may have gained weight while doing the study diet, then got frustrated and went on another diet. This would make it appear the first diet was successful, but the weight loss was actually the beginning stage of the second diet when most people actually lose weight when beginning a diet.