You've heard it before: healthy eating and exercise are keys to weight management. But for long term weight loss, the onus is on healthy, low calorie eating, according to research published by the American Dietetic Association.
In this pooled analysis, 80 trials that used different weight-loss plans - with or without exercise - were compared to discover the best approach for weight loss and weight maintenance beyond four years.
The weight-loss plans ranged from: general nutrition counseling only, activity advice only, nutrition counseling with specific attention to calorie reduction, and combinations of both nutrition and activity counseling. Studies that used meal replacements or weight-loss drugs were also included in the comparison.
On average, dieters lost 11 to 19 pounds, but most of them gained back some of the weight during the four years. Dieters that received specific advice on how to cut calories lost weight and kept it off longer than those who received general nutrition advice only or exercise advice only.
The researchers noticed that vigilant calorie counters had their weight loss taper off around six months. Also, going back to high calorie foods will inevitably resulted in regain of some weight. The bottom line: Sticking to a low calorie diet appears to be the best way to maintain weight loss without exercise. Exercise is still an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but physical activity alone is not better than diet alone for losing (or keeping off) weight.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.