Friday, 11 January 2013

Why the weight is so hard to shift: guidelines have been wrong all along

reposted from:
crabsallover highlightskey pointscomments / links.

National guidelines that advise people how to lose weight are seriously flawed and grossly overstate how quickly they will reach their targets, scientists say.

Researchers found people lost only half as much weight as expected in a year if they followed the advice given by the NHS and US health organisation.

Check out this online calculator.

The rule of thumb used by the NHS and other health services assumes that if a person cuts 500 calories from their daily diet, they will lose about 450g (1lb) each week, regardless of how long they adhered to the regime.

But as people lose weight, their metabolism slows until they reach a new stable bodyweight. Their weight loss is further complicated by how much body fat and muscle they have when they start dieting.

"Dietitians and physicians have used this rule of thumb for a long time, but it turns out to be completely wrong. It doesn't account for metabolic changes that happen when people change diet," said Kevin Hall, who led the research.

"If you change calories, your metabolism slows down and eventually you reach a plateau."

He told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: "If you want to lose 10lb of weight eventually, you need to cut 100 calories a day from your diet. You will get halfway there in a year, but then plateau after three years. The old rule of thumb predicts twice as much weight loss after a year and gets worse after that." I DON'T UNDERSTAND!

The glitch has consequences that go far beyond the frustration of obese and overweight people who are trying to shed weight. Public policies drawn up to tackle the rising obesity epidemic have to be reassessed, Hall said, and in cases where this has been done, their effectiveness looked much less impressive than before.


Based on the work, Hall and his colleagues have created an online tool that people from adolescence to late middle age can use to get more accurate advice on how to lose weight. The tool, which can be used by GPs and patients, then works out how many calories they need to cut, either through dieting or more exercise, and how they can then maintain the healthier weight.

Rather than demoralising people, Hall hopes more accurate advice would help overweight and obese people have realistic expectations.

"If you expected to lose twice as much weight after a year than you actually lose, I think that's horribly demotivating for people. I would rather have realistic figures out there for people to gauge their expectations and gauge their interventions," he said.


Hall said they provided "a good reality check for how long weight loss takes, and what changes in eating and exercise are required to achieve and maintain a goal weight."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We do not give specific recommendations on how much people should eat while dieting as this will be different for each of us. Anyone who wants specific advice should speak to a health professional. We keep all international evidence under review."

No comments: