Diet You Choose May Be Less Effective
A new study from Durham VA Medical Center found that people looking to lose weight had better weight-loss results when they followed a diet chosen by their doctor compared to one they chose. The findings were published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed 105 people who were looking to lose weight. Participants were given the option of following either a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet. Fifty-eight percent chose a low-carb diet and 42 percent chose a low-fat diet. A separate group of 102 people were assigned diets by their doctors, with 52 percent being assigned a low-fat diet and 48 percent assigned a low-carb diet.
Participants followed their diets for a year. People who chose their diet lost an average of 12.6 lbs. People who were assigned a diet plan lost an average of 14.7 lbs. While researchers were surprised by the results, they estimate that when people pick their own diet they are choosing a plan that contains many of their preferred food choices. This could make it harder to cut back on certain foods. So even if they follow the diet, they may overeat some of their favorite foods allowed within that diet plan—compared to a diet plan that does not have their favorite foods as an option at all.
Overall, researchers said doctor should still present a variety of diet options for their patients. More research is needed to better understand how to match patients to diets that work best for them that considers their metabolic profiles or genetics and not just food preferences.