Doomed Diets

Monday, November 7, 2011 - 11:16am

Why do so many diets fail?

Trying to lose weight but not finding any success?

New research from the National Institutes of Health could be the answer to what feels like a doomed diet.

Frank Johnson is 59 years old.

He's tried all sorts of diets to get his weight down and his health up, but it wasn't until he met with registered dietitian Judy Caplan that he was able to find an eating and exercise regimen that worked.

"With the current plan, it's not counting as much as understanding like the carbs and that's really what I've been focused on," he says.

According to new research from the National Institutes of Health there is no one-size-fits-all program when it comes to losing weight.

Take for example, the old rule of thumb: cut 500 calories a day for seven days and you'll lose a pound in a week.

Senior investigator Kevin Hall says for most people, that's just not going to happen, especially if they use that equation over longer periods of time.

Hall and his team found that following the old formula predicts double the amount of actual weight loss after a year.

"What that rule says is that your metabolism doesn't change, and what we found is that your metabolism does change," he explains.

Hall says after a few months of dieting most people's metabolism will slow down so they need to eat less to keep losing.

How much it slows depends on age, gender and the amount of body fat they had before they started their diet.

NIH scientists are working to develop a weight loss simulator for clinicians to use with their patients.

People would enter in very specific information like level of activity, current weight and age, then a computer program tells you how many calories to consume to reach your weight goal.

For dietitians like Judy Caplan, this research simply proves what she's been saying all along.

"There is no one formula. Some people will lose weight because they're going to up their exercise. Other people will lose weight because they're willing to take a walk," she says.

Frank Johnson says watching what types of foods he's eating as well as getting more exercise has been his key to a 30 pound weight loss.

He focused on adding more vegetables into his diet and cutting refined carbs like french fries and bread.

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