A new study has revealed that crash diets may actually be beneficial, as slow and steady weight loss does not reduce the amount or rate of weight regain compared with losing weight quickly.
According to the study led by Joseph Proietto, Sir Edward Dunlop Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and Head of the Weight Control Clinic at Austin Health in Australia, in a comparison of two groups, one of which dramatically cut their daily calorie intake for 12 weeks, and another which cut back slightly over 36 weeks, the rapid weight loss group was more likely to hit their targets and just as likely to maintain their weight loss three years on.
The rapid weight loss programme used in the study involved eating just 450-800 calories per day for 12 weeks. The gradual weight loss programme was in line with most national guidelines, recommended that around 500 calories was cut per day, over 36 weeks.
People in both groups who achieved their targets were followed up for another three years at which time both groups had regained about 71% of their weight.
The authors suggest a number of possible explanations for their findings. The limited carbohydrate intake of very-low-calorie diets might promote greater satiety, and less food intake by inducing ketosis. Losing weight quickly may also motivate participants to persist with their diet and achieve better results.
The study was published in The Lancet.