Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why Dieters Fail to Maintain their Reduced Weight

Worldwide, there are more than 1.5 billion overweight adults, including 400 million who are obese. In Lebanon, a study conducted in 2003 showed that overweight adult men were 60 % and overweight women were 50%. As for obesity (in which one's BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2) was higher overall among women with 19 % than men with 14 %, a trend that became more evident with increasing obesity class!

Now although restriction of diet often results in initial weight loss, more than 80 % of obese dieters fail to maintain their reduced weight. Many studies are still digging to know why - and a recent study suggests it's all about your hormones!

A new study  published in the New England Journal of Medicine couple of days ago involved 50 overweight or obese adults with an average weight of 95kg, who enrolled in a 10-week weight loss program using a very low energy diet. The whole point was to monitor levels of appetite-regulating hormones before, during and at the end of the program  as well as after 1 year after initial weight loss.

>> Results showed that following initial weight loss of about 13 kgs, the levels of hormones that influence hunger changed in a way which would be expected to increase appetite! These changes were sustained for at least 1 year and thus this made participants more prone to regain weight by around 5kgs during the one-year period of study. This is because when we lose weight, our bodies think we are going in a starvation mode thus it tends to work its butt off to maintain our regular weight - even if it's not a healthy one! This is called the "set point theory" - a serious enemy of weight loss. It served us well during early ages, when food was scarce and famines were more prevalent, but it is sure not serving the obesity pandemic now!

Tackling childhood obesity
is the key!
Hormones have an immensely huge role in regulating dietary and behavioral changes, in order to reach the initial weight! Dr. Proietto, from the study, indicated that although health promotion campaigns recommended obese people adopt lifestyle changes such as to be more active and to change their dietary habits, this might lead to minimal changes and is unlikely to lead to reversal of the obesity epidemic! The key is to focus public health efforts to prevent children obesity in the first place!

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1 comment:

  1. I think the most common reason why people are not successful with their diets is that they choose a diet that they cannot stick with long-term. A diet will not be successful if you cannot incorporate it into your lifestyle. Many people see diets as a temporary inconvenience, rather than an improved way of eating.