The Worst Weight Loss Technique Is Used By 50% Of People

Large decade-long study reveals what works best long-term in weight management.

Large decade-long study reveals what works best long-term in weight management.

Dieting is not the answer to effective weight management, new research concludes.

Indeed, people who carefully control what they eat put on more weight in the long-term, the large 10-year study found.

It is far better to avoid dieting and simple eat regular healthy meals.

Taking care of one’s psychological well-being is also important, as is finding a sense of meaning in life.

These are the conclusions of a Finnish study that followed over 4,900 people for a decade.

The results showed that almost everyone gained weight between the ages of 24 and 34 — around 1kg per year.

Men and women who dieted and had irregular eating habits put on more weight over the decade.

It is thought around 50% of adults are dieting at any one time.

Ms Ulla Kärkkäinen, the study’s first author, said:

“Often, people try to prevent and manage excess weight and obesity by dieting and skipping meals.

In the long term, such approaches seem to actually accelerate getting fatter, rather than prevent it.”

In addition, women who were unhappy with their life and who drank more sugary drinks also put on more weight.

For men, smoking was a risk factor for putting on more weight.

Ms Ulla Kärkkäinen, the study’s first author, said:

“Generally speaking, weight management guidance often boils down to eating less and exercising more.

In practice, people are encouraged to lose weight, whereas the results of our extensive population study indicate that losing weight is not an effective weight management method in the long run.

Prior research has shown that approximately every other adult is constantly dieting.

According to the National Institute for Health and Welfare, nearly a million Finns diet every year.

Even though dieting may seem a logical solution to weight management problems, it can actually increase weight gain and eating problems in the long run.”

The study was published in the journal Eating Behaviors (Kärkkäinen et al., 2018).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.

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