Study suggests slow weight loss may not be best after all

By Staff Writer • Published: January 27th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

You may have been told that slow, gradual dieting and exercise is better for you than rapid weight loss. Well, newly released data from Australia rebukes that stance.

A study published in October in the science journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found that obese people who used a crash diet and those who lost weight much more slowly regained the lost weight at similar rates.

Investigators in Australia randomly assigned 204 obese adults to take part in the trial. The participants ranged in age from 18 to 70.

Each person was enrolled in either a 12-week rapid-weight-loss program or a 36-week gradual weight loss program. About 81 percent of the people in the rapid-weight-loss program lost at least 12.5 percent of their body weight. Just about half of the participants in the slow weight loss group achieved that target.

Those who lost at least 12.5 percent of their weight were then placed on a weight-maintenance diet that lasted nearly three years. Among those who completed that portion of the study, 71 percent of the gradual weight loss participants and 70 percent of the rapid weight loss participants regained their weight.

The findings go against the belief that gradual weight loss yields better success. Researchers say a possible explanation for the results is that speedy weight loss may better encourage someone to stick with his or her diet. That’s because people on longer, gradual weight-loss programs often experience diet fatigue and are more apt to revert back to old habits.

So perhaps you shouldn’t obsess over the time frame in which you lose weight. Fast or slow, it’s key to follow doctor’s orders, eat healthy food, exercise often and stick to a regimen. Your body will thank you.