Dr. Fuhrman dedicates a lot of his book Eat to Live to explaining that diets really don't work--for a number of reasons. His main point is:
A weight-loss program can be considered successful only if the weight loss is permanent, safe, and promotes overall health. Temporary weight loss is of little or no benefit, especially if it compromises your health.
Alas (the blog) recently published a massive essay essentially saying that dieting is a massive waste of time. It touches on a number of studies. If you read it, don't ignore the dozens of comments. There are some important points in there, too.
The essay is summed up in the conclusion like this:
1. No weight-loss diet has ever been scientifically shown to produce substantial long-term weight loss in any but a tiny minority of dieters.Dr. Fuhrman is a staunch believer in the importance of weight loss in the name of health. But that doesn't mean this isn't an interesting discussion worth having.
2. Whether or not a weight-loss diet "works," people who go on weight-loss diets are likely to die sooner than those who maintain a steady weight or who slowly gain weight.
3. For fat people (or anyone else) concerned with their health, the best option is probably moderate exercise and eating fruits and veggies, without concern for waistlines. In other words, Health At Every Size (HAES).
4. The model on which most weight-loss diets are based - in which fat people eat like fat people and must learn to eat like non-fat people - is probably a myth.
To me, the thing that's missing from most discussions of weight loss, including this one, is the idea of excellent nutrition, that actually improves your overall health as you lose weight. (It's not just about avoiding certain foods--but is rather about gravitating to others.) Many of the important studies showing these kinds of effects have been described previously on DiseaseProof, and are as relevant as ever in this discussion. I'm interested to hear what you think.