The most popular weight loss tactic is to drink water throughout the day, researchers find.
This can be very effective as one study has found that drinking a pint of water before every meal can increase weight loss by five times.
Drinking water is three times more popular than reducing calorie intake and twice as popular as exercise.
Another study has shown that changing one sugary drink to water can boost weight loss by 5 pounds.
Drinking water works by making people feel more full before a meal, so that they eat less.
Water works as a natural appetite suppressant and may aid in the burning of calories and fat.
For the study, 48,026 people in the US answered a survey about their attempts to lose weight.
The results showed that 42 percent of people were trying to lose weight.
This figure had increased from 34 percent 15 years ago.
Dr Lu Qi, study co-author, said:
“These findings suggest that although 34-42% of U.S. adults in our study reported weight-loss efforts, many of them might either not actually implement weight-loss strategies or apply a minimal level of effort, which yielded unsatisfactory results.
Reduced food consumption is one common strategy to lose weight, but modified diets are difficult to maintain.”
The researchers found that other common weight loss techniques people used were reducing sugar intake and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Dr Qi said:
“These findings suggest a need to increase the promotion of effective strategies for weight loss, including caloric reduction and increased physical activity, among all adults attempting to lose weight.
Notably, adherence is the primary factor predictive of a successful response to a weight-loss attempt.
Therefore, weight-loss strategies that consider a participant’s preferences and abilities may help them stick with it long term.”
Although people attempted to increase their exercise levels to shed pounds, they usually did not do enough to have an effect.
About the author
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, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the JAMA Network Open (Han et al., 2019).