How do commercial diet programs such as Slim Fast, Atkins, Weight Watchers and Rosemary Conley’s “Eat Yourself Slim” Diet & Fitness Plan differ when it comes to weight loss? Not much, according to a recent study.
The good news is a study published in BioMed Central’s open access Nutrition Journal found that the diets provided enough nutrients, and more importantly, all resulted in weight loss. They also found there was no significant difference between the amounts of weight lost in all four diets.
But researchers also reported the four diets zapped dieters of their energy. And most subjects failed to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet–even when they were advised to as part of a modified weight loss program.
The only dieters in the study to increase their fruit and veggie intake were those following Weight Watchers–but only by one more portion a day compared to other dieters.
Plus, the Atkins dieters, who were not advised to increase their fruit and veggie intake, tended to have lower levels of iron and niacin, probably due to their decreased consumption of cereal and flour. But besides a low intake of dietary fiber overall, researchers found the Atkins diet’s low-carbohydrate plan caused no short-term detrimental effects of nutrient intake.
Why does this matter to you? Because most commercial diets result in some sort of weight loss, so pick whatever works for you. But remember, you don’t need to follow a commercial diet to lose weight. Calculate what your daily caloric intake should be and divide that into 5 to 7 small meals and snacks. Try to eat every three hours–and don’t skimp on fiber! Eating at least 5 servings of colorful fruits and veggies maintains good health, protects against the effects of aging, and reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease.