Pointless Dieting

By December 26, 2008Uncategorized

As the last of the Christmas pudding subsides from view, many thoughts turn to the inevitable New Years resolution to lose weight.  

Obviously people who’ve read Sweet Poison won’t be too worried. But believe it or not there are a few people out there who are yet to get their copy.  These people may be wondering whether they would be better off joining Weight Watchers or signing up to the local gym.  They need wonder no more … 
Researchers at the University of Missouri have recently published a study where the two alternatives were directly compared over a 12 week period.  What makes the study unique is that they didn’t just focus on the amount of weight lost.  They dug a little deeper to determine exactly what kind of weight was lost.  Was it muscle mass or fat?  The news was not good for either option.
Fifty Eight overweight, sedentary (less then 60 minutes exercise per week) women were randomly assigned to either a group completing a weight watchers program (the largest and oldest diet program in the world) or enrolled in Golds Gym’s weightloss program.
The average participant was 32 years old, had a BMI of 30 (just on the border of obese) and a body fat percentage of 40% at the start of the 12 week program.
The average gym member lost about one kilogram after 12 weeks and the average weight watcher lost four kilos (about 5% of their body weight).  More importantly neither group reduced their percentage of body fat.  Whatever they lost it wasn’t fat (which means it was either muscle or water).  
Neither group improved their cholesterol or triacylglyceride profile. If they were heart attack or diabetes candidates before they started they still were when they finished.
So after 12 weeks of sweating at the gym or attending weight watchers meetings and eating special (and expensive) meals, the end result was exactly … nothing!  Oh except the weight watchers lost some of their muscle mass!
To quote Marilyn Wann, author of Fat! So?, “The very existence of the diet industry is proof of its ineffectiveness. If there were one safe, effective way to lose weight, then the others would be out of business.” … enter Sweet Poison 🙂

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