Myth and Fact in Weight Loss Dieting. What is Scientifically Supported?
There are currently over 100 diet regimes out there that promise more or less the same thing: the body weight of a superstar, the health of an athlete and the joy of living of a youth.
A 2005 study shows that approximately 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and spend between 1 and 2 billion dollars on weight loss programs.
Unfortunately, most dieting efforts are not successful and disheartened dieters are at risk of spiraling down into self-loathing and binge eating, and are also very likely to put any lost weight back or even gain extra pounds.
With so many ways to go and so few actual success stories, what is a dieter to eat?
Most diets promote a decreased intake in either fats or carbohydrates, elevated protein and fiber intake, and the complete elimination of tertiary processed foods and refined sugars.
For example, according to the Scarsdale diet (and the accompanying infographic, increasing protein intake over a period of two weeks will help melt your extra pounds away.
A series of popular eating regimes collectively known as the "low carb diets" advocate eating a low carbohydrate, high protein and/or high fat menu that works by changing the way your body gains access to expendable energy.
These diets claims that carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are responsible for weight gain, and drastically reducing their intake can work wonders on our weight.
Through a process called ketosis, when carbohydrates are depleted from the liver, the body is forced to start breaking down fatty acids to produce energy. This will usually result in rapid weight loss, decreased blood sugar levels and improved heart health. The Atkins diet is the most well known promoter of this approach, although scientific studies exploring this diet have produced mixed results.
Dr. Linda Stern, who led a year long study on 132 obese patients at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, found that those who had used the Atkins diet managed to lose significant weight without any harmful effects.Continued on the next page