How did Nutrisystem help you lose weight

Lose weight: which diet does not matter

Minimal differences: Which diet you follow is irrelevant for weight loss success. This is shown by the largest meta-study to date on diets and weight loss programs with a total of 7,300 participants. Whether low-carb, low-fat or Weight Watchers and Co: After six months, everyone had lost almost the same amount of pounds. Anyone who wants to lose weight can therefore confidently choose the diet that suits them best, as the researchers explain in the journal "JAMA".

Losing weight has long since become a million dollar market and the clientele is growing. A corresponding number of diet systems are advertised today, mostly with illustrious names such as Atkins, Nutrisystem, Volumetrics, Sears Diet, but also Weight Watchers. These weight-loss programs are intended to make it easier for those willing to diet to lose weight in a disciplined and systematic manner, including with fixed dietary guidelines. Some primarily reduce the number of carbohydrates consumed (“low-carb”), others reduce the intake of fat (“low-fat”), and still others are based on a certain ratio of all nutrients. Which approach works better, however, is debatable.

Branded diets put to the test

Bradley Johnston from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and his colleagues have now evaluated and compared all previously published studies on such “branded diets”. For this purpose, they analyzed 48 clinical studies with a total of 7,286 severely overweight participants to determine how great the participants' weight loss success was after six months and after one year.

In addition to the weight-loss programs from Weight Watchers and Slimming World based on point systems and groups, the test also included the Volumetrics diet, in which the consumption of foods with the lowest possible energy density and high water content is supposed to help you lose weight. There were also low-carb diets like Atkins and South Beach, but also low-fat diets like Ornish or weight loss programs that offer ready-made meals like Nutrisytem and Jenny Craig.

Hardly any differences in weight loss success

The result: six months after starting the diets, the test subjects had all lost weight well. The difference between the diet forms was small: "There were statistical differences between some of the diets, but they were very small and are therefore rather unimportant for those who want to lose weight," said the researchers. Those who followed a “low-fat” diet weighed an average of 8.7 kilograms less after six months, while those on a low-carbohydrate diet lost an average of 7.9 kilograms.

After a year of the diet, these two main forms were almost exactly the same again. According to the scientists, the differences between the individual diet brands were also minimal. The Atkins diet, which is characterized by a lot of meat and little carbohydrates, differed in weight loss success by only 1.7 kilograms from the Sears diet, which is characterized by a complex nutrient balance - and that after six months of losing weight.

Diet type is less important than perseverance

According to the researchers, this is good news for anyone looking to lose weight. “There is no need for a one-size-fits-all diet, as there are many different diet approaches that allow you to lose weight successfully,” say Johnston and his colleagues. Everyone can therefore calmly pick the diet that best suits their preferences from the multitude of offers - and with which one has the greatest chance of sticking to it. Because the best diet doesn't help much if you don't stick with it and, ideally, change your diet over the long term. (JAMA, 2ß14; doi: 10.1001 / jama.2014.10397)

(JAMA, 09/03/2014 - NPO)

3rd September 2014