Many claims have been made about which diet is superior. Some say one and some say other. When we use the term “diet” we typically talk about restrictions in daily meals. Each “diet” comes with certain selections and restrictions. These diets typically have different macro-nutrient composition:
- Low Carbohydrate Diets. Typically have less than 40% carbohydrate; about 30% protein and about 30-55% fat. Typical brands include Atkins, South Beach and Zone
- Moderate Macronutrients Diets. Typically have about 55-60% carbohydrate; about 15 % protein and about 21-30% fat. Typical brands are Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Volumetrics, Weight Watchers.
- Low Fat Diets. Typically have about 60% carbohydrate; about 10-15% Protein and about 20% or less fat. Typical brands are Orish, Rosemary Conley
A meta-analysis published in JAMA looked at over 59 articles and 48 unique randomized control trials (including about 7286 individuals) to find out weight loss from popular diets. They looked at weight loss and body mass index (BMI) at 6- and 12- month follow-up.
What they found?
- The largest weight loss was associated with low-carbohydrate diets and low fat diets.
- Weight loss differences between individual diet in each group were minimal.
- When you combined the physical activity and behavioral support to the diet, the weight loss was better.
Take home message
It does not really matter what Branded Diets you chose, the weight loss was similar. Whatever diet you chose, you need to focus on exercise component as well as changing habits (behavior). All the diets work as long as you stick to the diet. You can stick to the diet only when you like the food. So, pick the diet where the food choices are what you like otherwise don’t waste time because you may not be able to keep that weight loss if you can not stick to it.
- Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, et al. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Meta-analysis. JAMA.2014;312(9):923-933.