Most people, particularly those who want to lose weight, tend to obsess on what “diet” works for them. And there’s a whole industry that caters to weight watchers, including fat burners, diet pills, teas, as well as crazy diet fads. All these choices aren’t just overwhelming, they leave overweight individuals confused as to the best way to lose weight: through diet or a change in one’s lifestyle?
Usually, one has to observe a strict diet to lose weight. This entails limiting daily caloric consumption and abstaining from certain food groups. The idea is to minimize the amount of food taken to allow the body to burn off stored fats. As the body burns off more fat, you lose weight.
Another approach is to “tweak” a person’s lifestyle to lose weight. This involved making better food choices and exercising to lose weight. While diet and a healthy lifestyle have their own advantages and disadvantages, most nutritionists believe that the latter is more effective in controlling weight.
Experts Weigh in On Diet VS Healthy Eating
According to an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), all diet fads are equally “as good or bad” in keeping the pounds off. The editorial was co-authored by Sherry Pagoto of the University of Massachusetts Medical and Bradley Appelhans of the Rush University Medical Center. Applelhands and Pagoto said that diet fads aren’t as effective as healthy eating at all.
In a separate report called “A Call for an End to the Diet Debates,” researchers found that lifestyle changes are always superior in keeping the pounds off than dieting.
The Dangers of Dieting
Dieters usually track their food consumption to lose weight. And if they don’t see results right away, they feel discouraged about continuing with their weight loss battle. And this is the reason why some dieters lose weight then gain it all back within a shorter period of time. If you try losing weight without a concrete plan, you will lose your way and end up in square one.
On the other hand, if you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you don’t deprive yourself. You will lose weight continuously without limiting your food choices. In the end, you have achieved your goal without putting your health at risk.
Problems with Adherence
Most diet fads are hard to adhere to. Some require special menus, others will eliminate certain food groups. When you can’t follow through with a certain diet, you’re more likely to quit in the middle of it. But if you eat healthily and try to get as much exercise as you can, there’s no special meals you have to adopt to lose weight. You don’t have to abstain from certain foods to keep the pounds off.
Dieting May Lead to Cardiovascular Diseases
According to a study published in “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes,” fad diets – like Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers and The Zone – increase the risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
The researchers tracked 26 randomized control trials on over 3,500 test subjects. Most of the participants were young, Caucasian obese women. Based on the findings, researchers found that all diet programs offer short-term weight loss but “these benefits are not sustained long-term.” Worse, long-term adherence to these diet programs could lead to cardiovascular diseases.
So which is more effective, dieting or adopting a better lifestyle? Scientific facts show that a healthy lifestyle trumps dieting. When you eat wholesome foods and exercise regularly, you will maintain a normal weight. A healthy diet and lifestyle offer long-term health and weight loss benefits. On the other hand, dieting offers a temporary solution to a problem. It could lead to nutritional deficiencies, a warped perception of self and health problems.