The age old question, how best can I lose weight? Different sources will tell you different answers. The internet might tell you that slimming tea or weight loss pills are your answer. Whereas, your prehistoric doctor might suggest the tried and true exercise and diet. So, according to Science, which reigns supreme?
A recent study compared non-traditional weight loss methods (hypnotherapy, diet pills, diet tea bags etc.) to traditional weight loss methods (diet and exercise) in people who had tried to lose weight in the last year. Over that year, those using non-traditional methods of weight loss gained on average 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms), while those using the traditional diet and exercise method only gained 3.5 pounds (1.6 kilograms). On a more positive note 20% of participants lost weight and those that did experienced greater weight loss when using traditional methods (1).
While the study wasn’t a particularly positive one if you’re trying to lose weight, it did give us a definitive outcome. It tells us that the boring, tried and true exercise and diet method is much more effective than any sort of weight loss supplement – no matter how fancy its Instagram page. Sorry.
When we delve deeper into the traditional methods of losing weight, diet appears more important for weight loss than exercise. Specially, researchers suggest that 75% of weight loss is obtained from diet, while only 25% is from exercise. In saying that, exercise is probably going to give you the tone and shape that you would never get with diet.
If we get even more specific, a diet that is low in carbohydrates, or low in fats, tends to lead to greater weight loss. Of the diets with names (Atkins, Zone, etc.) no one diet appears superior to another, it’s all about generally limiting calories, particularly those stemming from fat or carbohydrate (2, 3).
Is it healthful?
Diet and exercise: Medical professions spruike this method of eight loss for a reason, it works.
Our verdict: highly healthful!
Non-traditional weight loss (diet pills, slimming teas): less effective than exercise and diet, can have various side-effects.
Our verdict: healthless!
I hope this has been healthful.