All successful diets involve decreasing calorie intake and/or increasing the amount of calories burned. The only other relevant factor is metabolism. There are tricks one can do to help it along, such as drinking water to feel full, consuming satiating foods, or having a workout partner since one is less likely to stand up a friend than to skip the gym out of laziness.
But for a diet to work, it has to fall under the less calories in, more calories out umbrella. That’s why the most successful long-term ones are not so much diets as sustainable lifestyle changes, to include moderate meal portions and snacking on baby carrots instead of baby Snickers.
Fad diets might work, but again, only if it involves more calories going out than in. One of the more prominent these days is the keto diet. While it’s touted as the latest and greatest, the SciBabe, Yvette d’Entremeont, wrote that the diet has its genesis in 1921, when doctors noticed that fasting improved cognition and decreased seizure frequency in epileptics. A little while later, it was discovered that cutting out carbohydrates caused the same metabolic change as fasting did. That’s why Mayo Clinic doctors created a formula that manipulated this effect by limiting a patient’s carb intake. This became known as the ketogenic diet and was recommended for child epileptics.
The diet was rendered unnecessary by advances in anti-epilepsy medications. And it would never have been especially beneficial to someone who was not epileptic. It could work for weight reduction, but only for the same reason that any other diet would. But like the no-gluten-for-celiac-regimen has been unnecessarily coopted by those who don’t suffer from the condition, low- and no-carb diets have become the rage among those who don’t have childhood epilepsy.
And it won’t work better for them than any other diet. The SciBabe cited a study where, for a year, 609 dieting subjects were randomly divided into low-fat or low-carb diet groups. She wrote, “Initially, low-carb dieters experienced more weight loss because glycogen molecules bind with water, and once you’ve burned through your most readily available source of energy, you’re also down a few pounds of water weight.” But eventually, the low-carb group’s weight loss evened out with the low-fat one, and similar studies have consistently yielded this result.
As noted earlier, the sustainability of dietary choices are a key factor to success and diets that exorcise an entire food group or nutrient are unlikely to be maintained for a decade. Low-carb diets can work in the short term, but only if more calories are being burned. The amount of carbohydrate intake is going to have a negligible impact.
Penn Jillette lost over a hundred pounds by dining exclusively on carb-laden potatoes and limiting his daily intake to 1,000 calories. By contrast, continual gorging on low-carb salmon, cauliflower, almonds, and yogurt, will lead to weight gain if consumed in enough quantities.
You lost me when you said “baby carrots” …really.
Have you tried keto? My wife has – and it’s working for her, so maybe it’s this whole mind over matter thing.
*** yeah THAT really is a thing too.
Not that I eat baby carrots myself, mind you.