Is One Type of Diet Better than Another?

No! At least according to a well-designed study in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/9/859). In that study, the only important factor was eating less (consuming fewer calories) overall . The study compared 4 different diets that mirrored popular approaches including High-Protein, Low-Fat, and Low-Carbohydrate varieties. In the end, there was no difference in weight loss amongst the groups. Even though there were no average differences in this study, I find that certain diet approaches work better for some but not others.

In addition, the overall nutritional value of a diet plan is also important. Therefore, a carefully tailored approach is the most successful, starting with a detailed review of the weight gain history, previous attempts at weight loss, eating patterns, whether stress-eating or extreme carbohydrate cravings exist, and a review of family history, amongst other factors that might be playing a role.

Then, a comprehensive approach that includes changes in eating patterns, a focus on healthy eating, modifying specific triggers, a focus on an overall healthy lifestyle, addressing stress or mood and anxiety-related eating, and the option for medication to help with appetite and weight loss are some of the components of a treatment plan. If it was as easy as saying “eat less” then no one would struggle with weight management issues! The plan is continually re-evaluated in follow-up counseling sessions — in the study cited above, regular attendance at follow-up counseling sessions was strongly predictive of who would lose weight.

Best Regards, Dr. Ranen http://www.drnealranenbaltimorepsychiatrist.com