Dieting and keeping the weight off afterwards
Doctissimo takes a closer look at the DIOGenes project which advocates eating protein-rich, low glycaemic index foods in order to make sure the post-diet weight stays off for good.
Staying at the number one spot is often more difficult than reaching it, and it’s a similar story with dieting. The hardest thing may not be losing those extra kilos but making sure they don’t come back.
Diets, protein and health
Some of the healthy eating regimes regularly featured in women’s magazines, especially as summer approaches, are far from being fad diets. And from the prevention of health risks associated with being overweight and worries about obesity, to the obsession with being thin, there are many different reasons for dieting.
Real risks exist however, and some of the star diets (like the Dukan, Atkins etc.) could provoke various deficiencies, which are potentially harmful to health. Even worse, according to a recent American study, diets based on a high intake of animal protein could actually increase the risk of mortality. And to top it all off, according to a recent French report, 8 out of 10 people who follow such a diet will put the weight back on in the space of a year!
Overall, it’s difficult to know which diet method to follow. However, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine1, it might be possible to avoid putting the weight back on after a weight loss programme, as long as you follow the way of eating afterwards…
Successful dieting to begin with…
As part of a large-scale European Commission funded project, a study was led over six months with the objective of finding a diet regime that would help prevent obesity. The study in question is called DIOGenes, for ‘Diet, Obesity and Genes’ 2.
The method used was relatively simple: initially, a low calorie diet was followed by people deemed to be overweight (with an average BMI of 34). The same people then tried out different other types of diets so that the impact on how they managed to maintain their target weight could be measured afterwards.
In this way, 938 people from 8 different countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) followed a diet for 8 weeks whereby the daily amount of calories was based on 800kcal (up to 1000kcal maximum).
As a reminder, the recommended calorie intake for a normal diet is around 2000kcal, even though it can vary considerably according to gender, age, weight and level of physical activity (an inactive women of 38 does not have the same requirements as a sporty 20 year old man etc.).
In practical terms, this low calorie diet consisted of food substitute meals as well as a daily portion of 400g of fruit or vegetables. It is important to note that the substitute meals conformed to the European Commission health guidelines.3
At the end of the study, out of the 938 participants, 773 completed the 8-week diet, showing an average weight loss of 11kg, each of them having lost an average of 8% of their starting weight.
Copyright © 2011 Doctissimo
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