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If you’re someone who’s jumped on the bandwagon of fad diets over the years (hello Atkins diet, Mediterranean diet and paleo diet), this news is sure to surprise you, and maybe make you wish you never bothered wasting your time dieting in the first place.
New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found the diets that are proven to give you results.
While the Dukan diet might be the most searched for diet in the world, it didn’t score up as the most effective. In fact, of the 11 major weight-loss programs that had been rigorously tested, just two were proven to help you lose weight and actually keep it off for a year.
The winning duo? Old faithfuls Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. (Post continues after gallery.)
Researchers at John Hopkins University evaluated 4,200 studies about weight loss to see which plans worked best. Interestingly, they found that the majority of weight loss programs had never been studied in randomised, clinical tests.
Participants in the two successful programs, on average, lost more weight after one year than people who were either dieting on their own, got printed health information, or received other forms of education and counselling sessions. People on Weight Watchers lost 2.6 per cent more weight than a control group and Jenny Craig participants lost 4.9 per cent more.
The study found the Atkins diet (high in fat, low in carbohydrates) to “appear promising”, but required more research to back it up as an effective long term approach.
Unfortunately, even the two most effective diets weren’t proven to be miracle workers, producing modest results. But they’re certainly better approaches to take than losing a lot of weight on other (probably less healthy) diets, only to put it all back on a few weeks later.
The authors of the study advised people looking for ways to lose weight to consider more than just how they’ll look in a bikini.
“We want people to experience the health benefits of weight loss – lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and lower risk of developing diseases like diabetes,” says study co-author Jeanne Clarke.
“Those benefits are long-term goals; losing weight for three months, then regaining it, has limited health benefits.”