Health, The Good Life

All Diets Equal

Atkins? South Beach? Or how about the Flat Belly Diet? If you’re planning to shed some pounds, you can stop fussing over which diet works best, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health randomly assigned 800 overweight people to four different diets with varying ratios of fat, carbohydrates and protein, then measured their weight loss at six months and two years.

Guess what? All the diets produced the same amount of weight loss. They were all based on cutting 750 calories from each dieter’s daily caloric needs, in addition to 90 minutes a week of exercise. No matter which regimen they chose, dieters who completed their programmes lost an average of 13 pounds in six months and kept off 9 pounds after 2 years.

The researchers say the key is picking a diet you like enough to stick to. But there’s no need to measure carbs or fats or protein. To see results, all you have to count are calories.

If there is magic to be had, it’s in motivation. The study found that rather than the ratios of fats to proteins, it was other factors, most notably counselling sessions, that affected dieting success. People who attended sessions lost more weight than those who didn’t, he says.

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