Weight-loss advice is everywhere; New “tricks” and “fad diets” are marketed to consumers every day with the promise of elusive weight loss. Rather than improving our health, they can often lead to detrimental effects. Most are Short lived, Unverifiable, Difficult to sustain, and mostly lead to weight regain quite quickly to the starting weight or higher. Fad diets and excessive dieting all together are associated with weight cycling, where once weight loss begins, the body’s counterregulatory mechanisms kick into play fighting the change in weight, leading to frustration and oftentimes compensatory overeating, which ends in weight gain that triggers once again a restrictive eating pattern to somehow compensate, as if weight was a voluntary number we could so easily regulate.
Decades of research support the complex mechanisms regulating appetite and metabolism. Finely orchestrated loops involving peripheral organs, the brain and many hormones are involved to maintain a balance somehow. Sustainable weight loss and maintenance relies on a multilevel approach integrating at minimum lifestyle, nutrition, tied together with anti-obesity medications, surgery, or a combination of both when applicable. The focus is rarely on a number on a scale nor guaranteeing results.
Commercial diets and products easily offer consumers the concept of the “best diet in their life”. Proceed with caution when you see the following claims: “Miraculous”, “No Effort”, it will “Melt the Fat”, or promises you will lose ‘X’ pounds within a few days or weeks. Understand that there are multiple complex mechanisms involved and safe, effective, sustainable weight reduction and maintenance is available.