When battling the bulge, it doesn't matter if you're on a low-carb, high-protein or high-carb, low-fat diet.
All that counts is calories - and nutrition counselling to help you stick with it, according to new research from Harvard.
In this study, researchers randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four diets, each of which contained different levels of fat, protein and carbohydrates.
The diets were similar to popular high-protein, high-carb and low-fat weight loss plans modified to be low in cholesterol with emphasis on healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, fibre-rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Each dieter was encouraged to slash 750 calories a day from their diet, exercise 90 minutes per week and keep an online food diary.
Some people were asked to meet regularly with a trained nutritionist who monitored their progress while others did not participate in nutrition counselling.
Overall, each person lost an average of 13 pounds after six months - but all groups saw their weight creep back up after a year.
After two years, weight and waist circumference reduction were similar in all groups. The average weight loss was about nine pounds while waistlines shrank an average of two inches (five centimetres).
Compared with their peers who didn't attend regular counselling, dieters who saw a nutritionist lost - and kept off - the the most weight after two years (an average of 22 pounds).
It doesn't matter if your approach is low-fat or low-carb, high-protein, say these nutrition researchers. Limiting calories, exercising, and regular nutrition counselling to keep you on track are the keys to successful weight loss.
Nutrition counselling helps make weight loss diets tasty, nutritious and not monotonous. Having a variety of foods to choose from prevents boredom and makes it easier for people to maintain long-term weight loss.
For a diet plan and nutrition counselling that's personalized to your preferences and lifestyle, check out how you can work one-on-one with Leslie Beck, RD.
This study appeared in the February 26, 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
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.