According to a study published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal, commercial diets are not only a useful way to lose weight, but also help patients in keeping the weight off in the long term.
Researchers compared the efficiency of four popular commercial weight loss programmes with a control group. The study was sponsored by the BBC as part of its reality TV series, BBC Diet Trials.
The diets were the Slim-Fast Plan (a meal replacement approach), Weight Watchers pure points programme (an energy controlled diet with weekly group meetings), Dr Atkins’ new diet revolution (a self-monitored low carbohydrate eating plan), and Rosemary Conley’s eat yourself slim diet and fitness plan (a low fat diet and weekly exercise class).
The control group was asked to maintain their current diet and exercise pattern.
Weight and body fat changes were monitored over six months and dieting behaviour was checked again at 12 months.
At 12 months, data revealed that more participants in the unsupported programmes (Atkins diet and Slim-Fast) withdrew from the study than in the supported group based programmes, and weight rebound after the initial six months was higher in the unsupported programmes.
The authors concluded that clinically useful weight loss and fat loss can be achieved in adults who are motivated to follow commercial diets for a considerable period. People need to find a diet that best suits them.
“Our study provides data on how much weight patients can expect to lose by dieting,” they write. “These data could help practitioners in managing patients’ expectations of weight loss targets.”