Friday, January 15, 2016

Dieting’s False Hopes

Samuel Beckett said, ‘Probably nothing in the world arouses more false hopes than the first four hours of a diet.’ Those concerned about their weight can get caught in dieting traps. That’s unfortunate, since many have made their fortunes on the back of the ‘diet craze,’ offering seemingly endless options: crash, fast, no-carb, hi-fat, low-fat, juice, raw food, fat farms, boot camp, and so on. When one type falls out of favor, it’s often brought back under a new name. UCLA researcher Stuart Wolpert found that dieting does not work. By their very nature diets are designed to fail. Initially you many lose a few pounds as the brain and body respond temporarily to something new and different. But dieting cannot be maintained over time, especially when it involves food deprivation. Within a space of just two to three years, most eventually gain back everything they lost—often more—and risk damaging brain and body systems in the process. A study published in the journal American Psychologist found that dieting does ‘not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.’

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