Monday, March 13, 2006

Insuring Diet Failure

Quick - what's the best way to keep an obese person obese in the long-term?

Have them diet with starvation level calorie restriction!

That we understand starvation doesn't work in the long-term (unless you can live the rest of your life hungry) doesn't seem to matter - Blue Cross Blue Shield is shelling out $5-million to study weight loss in the obese with pharmaceuticals and starvation diets in an effort to "measure the safety, cost and effectiveness of the more traditional approaches against those of the surgery," according to an article on MSNBC.

They need to spend $5,000,000 to find this approach isn't going to work in the long-term? Have all previous studies on the subject been for naught? Is this study really any different - so different that it's bound to find something new and exciting?

Those taking part in the study will be divided into four groups. Two groups will consume 800 calories a day, with most calories coming from a packaged, nutritionally dense powder to be mixed into shakes, soups and other foods. The other groups will consume 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day. Half of the participants will take an FDA-approved appetite suppressant or fat-blocker while the other half receives no medication. All will receive behavioral treatment to learn how to manage their diets, prevent relapses and stay motivated, and all will be encouraged to walk daily, eventually three miles.

I don't know about you, but I can already tell BCBS what their result will be - initially those participating will lose weight, a portion will become dependent on the stimulants and require rehab, there will be a high drop-out rate overall and those that manage to stick it out, they'll gain the weight back once they increase calories to what should be "normal intake" for their new weight.

There is a better way - yet this study, like so many others - fails to consider including it.

A carefully planned, nutrient-dense low-carb diet ad libidum (eat as much as you want from the allowed foods). Calorie intake will take care of itself and those following such a dietary approach will have a better chance of losing the weight while not feeling hungry, thus reducing the risk of failure!

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