We have all been there. We go on a low calorie diet, but we just can’t seem to lose a single pound! Well, chances are you’re dieting wrong! New research suggests that if you want to lose weight, then perhaps the best way is to not to eat what you like, but follow a prescribed regimen. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that patients who were assigned a diet plan to follow by their doctors lost more weight than people who chose their own plan based on personal preferences.
“I think it’s a natural assumption to make that people will stick to a diet better if they choose it based on their food preferences, but what we found is that that’s not really the best recommendation,” the study’s lead author Dr. William Yancy told CBS News.
Throughout the 48-week study, participants were offered group and telephone counseling. Those who chose their own diet were given the option to switch at the 12-week mark, but only five chose to do so.
Researchers looked at 207 outpatients who were either overweight or obese at a Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic in Durham, North Carolina. They randomly assigned the participants into two groups: half were prescribed either a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet or a low-carbohydrate diet without calorie restrictions; the others were allowed to chose which of those two diet plans they would like to follow.
Which diet plans really pay off?
Overall, the participants, the majority of whom were male with an average age of 55, lost about two more pounds when they were on a diet prescribed to them rather than on one they chose.
“It wasn’t a large number and not statistically significant, but the surprising thing was that it was in the opposite direction than what we would have guessed,” Yancy said.
Dieters who select their own plan may struggle more adhering to it, Yancy hypothesized, because picking a diet that allows them to eat food they like may make it harder for them. “If people choose a diet they prefer based on food preferences, they may have a more difficult time scaling back on their intake,” he explained.
Yancy said the these findings indicate that future research should focus on how to match the most effective diet to a patient based on other characters, such as their metabolic profile, genetic profile, rather than their taste and personal preference as clearly that is not as effective in reduction of weight.