JAMA: Call for end of diet fads

Editorial: Diets don’t work, lifestyle changes do

Author: Adrienne Moore, Weekend anchor, reporter, amoore@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 21 2013 10:07:05 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 21 2013 11:21:49 PM EDT

Most people know how they should eat and what they shouldn’t eat, but many don’t put that knowledge into practice and turn to extreme dieting to shed unwanted pounds.

The Journal of The American Medical Association recently released an editorial arguing that no diet really works. In fact they recommend people forget about the term “diet” all together.

The editorial titled “A call for an end to the diet debates” in the August edition of JAMA echoes the sentiment that diets don’t work. The editorial reads:

“Progress in obesity management will require greater understanding of the biological, behavioral, and environmental factors associated with adherence to lifestyle changes including both diet and physical activity.”

“We’ve been saying this for the last five to 10 years it feels like. The medical community and the education community are always the last ones on board because they have to wait for all of the research to come through,” said Definition Fitness’ Melissa Kingston.

Personal trainers like Kingston are praising the lifestyle approach to weight management. Kingston told Channel 4 that weight management boils down to a balanced, common sense approach.

“Anything that asks you to take an entire food group out of your diet like a grapefruit diet, or a cabbage diet, where you’re limiting your food intake to very little amounts of food, limits you to carbohydrates or limits you to a certain amount of protein or fat, are usually not good for you in the long run,” said Kingston.

St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s Dr. Javier Herrera agrees. Herrera told Channel 4 that drastically restricting foods provides a temporary fix and isn’t sustainable.

“It’s no surprise. I think most of us realize that diets that are specifically marketed to patients work in general for a short period of time, for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Most patients will gain that back and more,” said Herrera.

Experts recommend that people focus on filling their plates with color and portion size, instead of trying out the latest fade diet.

“Take the time, take a week to really measure everything out, count everything out and once they have the knowledge, that’s the easy part. They can put together a fairly healthy menu,” said Kingston.

Doctors said they realize that we live in a “quick fix” society, but stress that there is no replacement for hard work and consistency when it comes to weight loss.