Why diets don’t work

When you are trying to lose weight, it is tempting to want results as fast and as easily as possible. But very rapid weight loss is unlikely to help you to maintain a healthy weight long-term. And it comes with health risks.

There are many reasons why commercial diets should not be undertaken for long-term weight loss. Here are a few:

  • Many diets, especially crash diets, require you to dramatically reduce the number of calories you consume and are therefore often nutritionally unbalanced.
  • Diets that recommend cutting out certain foods, such as meat, fish, wheat or dairy products, or only eating certain foods could prevent you from getting the important nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to function properly.
  • Particular well-known diets, suggest reducing carbohydrates (for example pasta, bread and rice), which are an essential source of energy. While you may lose weight on these types of diets, they are often high in protein and fat which can elevate your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diets which drastically restrict how much you eat can harm your health because you lose more lean body tissue and less fat. Your body’s response to this is to slow down how fast it works so you burn fewer calories. This is the reason why the weight piles back on quickly once you finish crash dieting. In addition, these diets can’t be maintained long-term, therefore once you stop the regime, you’re likely to return to old habits and regain weight.

Remember that although diets do produce results in the short term, very few dieters maintain their weight loss, no matter which diet they try and worse than this, most dieters end up bigger than they were before!

Further reading is available at www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing