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Dieting Boils Down to One Thing: Calories

It seems that most people sweat the details when they try to lose weight. While there are a few things you need to consider (like exercise), when it comes to eating, researchers have found that dieting is much simpler than you may think. That is, no matter which diet you choose, it all comes down to one thing: calorie restriction.dieter

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at four low-calorie diets, and all of them yielded an average loss of 7% of body weight at six months and 6.4-7.9 pounds lost at two years.

“Weight loss is very simplistically just reducing the amount of calories that you take in, and any kind of healthy diet that allows you to do that is the best,” says Frank M. Sacks, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health.

The researchers enrolled 811 overweight adults and randomly assigned them to one of four diets with fat, protein, and carbohydrates accounting for differing percentages of energy as follows:

  • A low-fat, average-protein diet with 20% fat, 15% protein, and 65% carbohydrates
  • A low-fat, high-protein diet with 20% fat, 25% protein, and 55% carbohydrates
  • A high-fat, average-protein diet with 40% fat, 15% protein, and 45% carbohydrates
  • A high-fat, high-protein diet with 40% fat, 25% protein, and 35% carbohydrates

All the diets were individually measured to restrict calorie intake to a negative 750 kcal a day. After two years, the weight loss was similar whether the people’s diet aimed for high- or average-protein intake.

(via: Med Pages Today)

February 28th, 2009