Your diet plan isn't working? New research explains why

July 22, 2016 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Your diet plan isn't working? New research explains why

Many diet plans are doomed from the start. The reason? Dieters tend to adopt the wrong strategies, often planning to ditch their favorite foods and replace them with less-desirable options, finds new research from Baylor University.

Successful dieters, on the other hand, focus on adding healthy foods, foods that they actually like.

The research shows that instead of creating rules to avoid one's favorite treats, dieters should focus on eating healthy foods that they enjoy. People who restrict themselves from eating the foods they love most may be setting themselves up for failure.

Focus on eating healthy foods vs. avoiding your favourite treats

Instead, they may be better off by allowing occasional 'treats' and focusing attention on healthy foods that they enjoy and making it a point to include them in their diet."

The outcomes of the research -- three studies and a total of 542 study participants -- hinged on a person's level of self-control.

The research found:

  •  When asked to list specific rules that people might use to guide their food intake, a large percentage of individuals listed rules that involve restricting and avoiding certain foods. This was particularly the case among low self-control individuals -- those who generally have less success in reaching their goals. People who are generally more successful in achieving goals tended to list rules that involved things they should approach and/or eat.
  •  When thinking of unhealthy foods to avoid, low self-control individuals think of foods that they really like -- their favorite snacks and most tempting foods. High self-control individuals think of foods that they like but could do without.
  •  When thinking of healthy foods to eat, low self-control individuals think of foods they don’t like (e.g., Brussels sprouts). High self-control individuals think of foods they enjoy eating (e.g., strawberries).

These findings suggest that the next time you decide to lose weight or improve your health by altering your diet, use strategies that focus on eating healthy foods, specifically ones that you really enjoy eating.

Source: Psychology & Marketing, July 8, 2016.

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.