The rate of obesity in the United States alone is enough to scare most of us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one third of American adults are obese — that’s approximately 78.6 million people. The economic toll of obesity is as troublesome as the problem itself. The CDC estimated that in 2008 the cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion.
Things are only projected to get worse. Research published in The Lancet (2011) predicts that the cost of obesity could rise between 48 to 66 billion dollars per year by 2030. And this is just the start. The health costs of obesity and associated diseases, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease, will also take a toll on Americans and their families.
In reaction to obesity, many Americans are turning to diets, including low-fat diets. The idea behind cutting fat intake for weight loss has always been associated with the high amount of calories contained in fat compared to proteins and carbohydrates. However, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School examined low-fat diets and their effectiveness.
The study, published online in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, led by Deirdre Tobias, PhD, focused on disproving fat’s bad reputation. The meta-analysis involved 53 studies and 68,128 adults. The study’s main objective was to compare the efficacy of diets that had no fat restrictions with the low-fat diets. The results were significant and went against most accepted theories behind fat and calorie intake. “There is no good evidence for recommending low-fat diets,” Tobias noted in news reports.
If low-fat diets are not the answer, what is? Dieting, no matter what the diet may be, is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Researchers involved in the study also noted that dieting is not the sole contributor to weight loss. In fact, there has been research debunking diets altogether. A study published in The American Psychologist (2007), conducted by researchers at the Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, concluded, “In sum, there is little support for the notion that diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.”
Dieting will always be a trending topic. And you will always be able to browse the Internet in search of the next best diet, but keep in mind that research results may differ. Losing weight and getting healthy cannot be achieved through a trendy diet plan or special drink. Health and wellness is a lifestyle choice that has to come from within. Your diet may work for the first month of summer, but then what? Making a clear choice to change your lifestyle may assist you in keeping the weight off for good, and you will be looking at a healthier and happier you every morning in the mirror.
Do you think low-fat diets — or any diets — are effective for weight loss?
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.