Dieting does not work.
Tumisu / Pixabay – Dieting does not work.

According to the April 2018 Eating Behaviors Journal (Vol 29) article, maintaining a regular eating schedule is most helpful to manage weight long-term. Why do people diet? The most often given reasons are to lose weight, improve health, excel in sports or because they think they should look a certain way.

The article pointed out several times that eating the same versus dieting seems counterintuitive. Irregular eating habits let to weight gain in a “FinnTwin 16” study encompassing nearly 5000 younger men and women. The study was performed to determine weight change factors over time.

The study looked at men and women between the ages of 24 and 34 for ten years. Most people being studied gained weight. 7.5% of women and 3.8% of men lost weight. 28.6% of women and 23.0% of men were able to maintain their weight for ten years. Overall, women gained more weight than the men. Exercise was a factor in successful weight management.

It was difficult to determine the exact causes of weight gain in this study. The results identified several factors. For women, they believed that there were five factors for women gaining weight. They are childbirth (two or more children), drinking lots of sweetened drinks, irregular eating, dieting, and low life satisfaction.

The factors for men were a bit different. The top three factors were irregular eating, dieting, and smoking. It was interesting that higher education levels were seen in the groups maintaining their weight over time.

Diets are temporary excursions from your normal lifestyle. Whatever you are eating and the amount of exercise you do daily reflect your current level of fitness and weight. Why would someone expect any different results when you gain weight once you finish your diet and return to your previous eating and exercising habits?

Doing further research into dieting and weight loss showed varied results. A Google search reveals that diets are advertised as a safe and easy way to lose weight, best weight-loss diets, ketogenic, fast weight-loss diets, best weight-loss advice you have never heard of, and many more. Looking at the literature, one would believe that any of these diets would be successful in losing weight. tells us that 97% of dieters regain their weight (and more) in three years. US News reported a few years ago that 95% of people don’t fail with their diets. The diets fail them!

Diets seem to be for everyone. A short list of ‘titled diets’ include healthy, low-fat, low-carb, vegetarianism, raw, dash, Atkins, paleolithic, zone, calorie restricted and many more. Can one diet fit all?

I’ve been a proponent of eating nutritionally balanced meals. Ensure your body has the necessary daily minimum requirements to sustain itself at the healthiest levels. You must have nutrients your body cannot make. Essential nutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.

It is the choices you make that determine the outcome – your weight, appearance, and ability to do those things you want to do. Carbohydrates come in many shapes and sizes. Carbohydrates in spinach are different than carbohydrates found in grains. Fats from animals are different than fats from plants.

Going on a diet, or eating irregularly, does not guarantee that you will have nutritionally balanced from your food choices. You might eat 3000 calories to attain nutritional balance. Yet, you could eat 1500 calories and obtain the same balance by selecting different foods.

It’s a complicated world. When we are young, we burn off the calories more efficiently than when we are middle-aged. As our bodies age, we have a less efficient operating system running our bodies. Throwing in a change to this operating system by dieting doesn’t make sense.

What does make sense? Eat the least number of calories to attain nutritional balance. Exercise, not for the sake of weight loss, but for the sake of longevity and health.

2 Responses

  1. Very interesting post Red, as a person who calorie counts for weight loss, I know that if I return to old eating habits (as I usually do eventually) I regain part of the weight lost. I know I need to ensure I build better habits (as I have done with my writing) but one hurdle at a time! Thanks for this post ????????

    1. Thanks, Ashley. I don’t count calories, but I know from previous experience roughly what each portion I choose has in it. I did count calories a while back and spent a lot of time weighing different foods. I chose to use a smaller plate at the same time. Interestingly enough, when I have a large plate, I notice I tend to fill it up, just like the smaller plate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *