There are so many roads that lead to the same weight loss destination. But according to a review of dozens of clinical trials, the best path to shedding pounds is the old-fashioned way of calorie-cutting and exercising.
In an analysis of 80 weight-loss studies, researchers found that approaches focusing on trimming calories – with or without exercise – were most effective at keeping the pounds off over four years.
On average, participants shed 11 to 19 pounds, then typically gained a little bit back over time.
The study, reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, stated that diet and exercise can work over the long haul if people stick to it and have realistic expectations. But, according to the researchers, people need to be prepared for weight loss to taper off after six months.
“Although there is some regain of weight, weight loss can be maintained,” write the researchers, led by Marion J. Franz, a registered dietitian and health consultant with Minneapolis-based Nutrition Concepts by Franz Inc.
Weight-loss medication also seemed to help somewhat in keeping the weight off over the longer-term.
Learn more about a calorie restriction diet.