Diet + exercise can help maintain weight loss

June 4, 2014 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Sports Nutrition and Exercise, Weight Management

Diet + exercise can help maintain weight loss

Programs focused on both diet and exercise may help people who have lost weight keep the pounds from creeping back on, according to a new analysis of past studies.

Orlistat, an obesity drug, may also be effective when taken at higher doses, researchers found.

More than one third of U.S. adults and 25 percent of Canadians are obese, and obesity raises the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Losing weight - and keeping it off - can reduce those risks.

“Long term weight loss through changes in eating and physical activity is possible, even in adults who have already acquired obesity related illness, and effective weight loss programs are now available,” the researchers from Newcastle University in the UK write.

They pooled data from 45 studies that included a total of 7,788 adults who had lost at least five percent of their body weight. The studies looked at people’s ability to keep the weight off for a minimum of one year.

Forty-two of the studies included an initial phase meant to produce weight loss. The participants in those studies lost an average of about 24 pounds.

The studies all looked at medication or lifestyle changes such as diet, physical activity and meal replacements, either alone or in combination, to help with weight loss maintenance.

The researchers found that people participating in programs that combined diet and exercise gained back 3.4 fewer pounds after one year compared to people receiving no extra help with weight maintenance or standard treatment only.

They also found that combining Orlistat with behavioral changes resulted in 4 fewer pounds regained after one year compared to participants who took a drug-free placebo.

Orlistat appeared to be more effective at larger doses. But the drug also came with gastrointestinal side effects.

 People have to realize that it’s not just about losing weight. If a diet isn’t sustainable you’re not going to stick with it long term.

Support during the weight management phase is important. Support groups and dietitians who give people strategies and tools to make it easier for permanent weight loss.

It’s important to eat foods you like when losing weight and maintaining a weight loss.

If you don’t like the foods on a diet plan, you’ll be more likely to slip back into old habits.

Source: BMJ, online May 14, 2014.

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.