Disease Proof

Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, Zone Diet--All Poop Out...

A new study has determined that fad diets like Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and the Zone produced only modest weight-loss with limited sustainability. Ian Ayres of the Freakonomics blog has more:

A randomized control year-long study looked at the impact of four different diets (Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets) on a group of overweight and obese subjects who were looking to lose weight. The diets produced only “modest” average weight loss of about 6.4 lbs (2.3 percent of original body weight) and found no statistically significant difference in weight loss for the four different diets.


People do a pretty good job of losing weight for about half a year, and then their weight tends to drift back toward their pre-diet number. The difficulty of sustaining weight loss can be seen in this figure taken from a 2-year randomized study of the Weight Watchers program:

Now, news like this is rather redundant. Diets programs like Atkins and Weight Watchers are nothing but hype—BIG wastes of time! According to Dr. Fuhrman diets like these are doomed to fail. He explains:

All those second rate diets fail, because without addressing adequate micronutrient density, people crave more food than their body requires for good health.


In spite of the more than $110 million consumers spend every day on diets and “reducing” programs (more than $40 billion per year), Americans are the most obese people in history. To be considered obese, more than one-third of a person’s body must be made up of fat. A whopping 34 percent of all Americans are obese, and the problem is getting worse, not better.

Unfortunately, most weight-loss plans either don’t work or offer only minor, usually temporary, benefits. There are plenty of “rules and counting” diets, diet drugs, high-protein programs, canned shakes, and other fads that might enable you to lose some weight for a period of time. The problem is that you can’t stay on these programs forever.

Here’s my UNEXPERT opinion. Ditch the “diet” and change your lifestyle. Hey, it worked for me—Healthy, with a Vengeance!

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Lilly - February 28, 2008 8:48 AM

yeah, those diets are awful. I had tried Atkins, but it was too difficult for me b/c of the lack of fruit. I LOVE my fruit! I was sneaking in berries as soon as I could...it was terrible. Made my cholesterol go up, my blood pressure went up & I ended up borderline diabetic as a result of it as well.

I'm now in the middle of Dr. Fuhrman's six week plan, and don't plan on ever going off of it! I feel so great & my blood sugar is back to normal already!! You're totally right, you just have to change your lifestyle... :)

Gerry Pugliese - February 28, 2008 9:21 AM

Hey Lilly-

Congrats! And keep up the great work. :)

Peace.
-Gerry

LLouise - February 28, 2008 2:55 PM

Awesome, Lilly! Some of the diet plans are miserable! Jenny Craig is one I will never get...how did that one ever take off???! Even before celebs...It's so awful. And how sustainable is it? Who could live forever on Jenny C.'s packaged food? That's not real life, and it's not conducive to health.

H=N/C Period!
Health = Nutrients/Calories

sjensen - May 20, 2010 8:43 PM

Weights Watchers is not a diet. It teaches you about portion sizes, making better food choices. Most people eat too much food and bad food choices. ie. eating too much processed foods, high calories drinks and fried foods. WW teaches you about eating fruits, veggies, meats and whole grains in the right proportions. You can still eat junk food but you have to eat low calories food (ie fruits/veggies) to fill you up the rest of the way. Diets fail because they end when you lose weight and you go back to eating what you where before. WW doesn't end. Its a lifestyle change.

Mary T - June 13, 2013 8:18 PM

I tried the Jenny Craig thing, and your paying twice as much for frozen tv dinners that you could buy at the store, with virtually the same ingredients. I thought about going to Weight Watchers, but its too much calculation, i feel like im at work.. but i like something that i can make food choices, and not have to buy tv dinners .. cooking is cheaper at home, so everyone has their own idea of what can work, i think i've found a way for me. By the way, when people say "diets dont work" i think its because they choose to go back to their old ways. i think you have to find something that will encourage you to stick with it, and not just go for a temporary fix. some "diets" are restricting you from certain things, and the deprivation is what people dont want to stick with. some diets are boring, and food just tastes good. so the key is - find something that will be a permanent change for the rest of my life, and something that is not just temporary, but something that will last.

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