A slim and healthy body is not only a guarantee of self-confidence, but also of high activity, productivity and longevity. Dozens of diseases recede with a healthy weight loss. One of the steps in the fight against excess weight is dieting. Some of them help to lose weight and become healthy, others act drastically and do not spare internal organs. But, there may come a point when neither diet works.

Why don’t diets work?

Before we get to the question “why diets don’t work?”, let’s define what a “Diet” is in principle, and how does it differ from a rational diet?

By diet, we can mean completely different things. In terms of science, it is a diet that is characterized by the exclusion of certain foods for a short period of time. It is used as a treatment, and after the effect is achieved, the forbidden products are reintroduced into the diet.

For example, in acute poisoning or intestinal infection is assigned a special therapeutic diet with an exclusion of protein, salt, dairy products (and so on). But what is important – for a short time. And then these foods will be introduced into the diet. It is impossible to do for a long time without a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Rational nutrition is a physiologically full and balanced nutrition for healthy people, taking into account their sex, age, nature of work, climatic conditions, balanced by BW.

In other words – our body expends energy in the process of its life, protein to build new cells, glucose for brain function and so on. Our job is to replenish what we’ve spent.

Based on this, nutritionists around the world have adopted the ratio of GI and derived formulas for calculating daily energy intake.

And what to do in case of excess body weight? Stick to a diet or a sensible diet?

From a medical point of view, overweight is a disease that steadily leads to complications such as hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis, etc.

Since excess body weight does not appear by itself, but as a consequence of a violation of the principles of a rational diet, it is important to understand where the error occurred and return to balance. Therefore, a diet is needed, but it must be personalized and based on the principles of rational nutrition – because it needs to be applied for a long time.

At this point in the medical community of nutritionists has collected enough data and conducted a large number of studies to assert – a rational diet with reduced daily calories wins in the long term over extreme diets (reducing daily calories to 700 kcal, interval starvation) for weight loss. It is as safe as possible.

To say that other diets don’t work is impossible. They too have a place, but there have been no credible studies without conflicts of interest.

Clinical guidelines 2020

According to the Clinical Guidelines for the Treatment of Obesity (2020 revision), Starvation is not recommended due to a lack of data on its effectiveness and safety in treating obesity in the long term prognosis. It’s worth acknowledging that diets don’t work for obesity. But what does work?

According to the latest research from 2020, the most effective diet is found to be a hypocaloric diet. It consists of a calorie deficit. If you want to lose effectively and safely, you need to estimate how many calories you are wasting and consume 500-700 kcal less. You also need to consider your age, initial weight, and gender. In this way, you can lose up to 1 kg. per week. It is a long way to the desired weight, however, it allows you to maintain the result for a long time, to develop a system of nutrition that will be natural for you. It is worth noting that the diet is effective for the first 6 months. Further the diet does not work. If you need to lose more pounds, you will need to make additional restrictions.

Important research theses:

  1. Typically, the period of stagnation is what nutritionists call a “plateau” period. As you can see, it’s normal to have one and justified from a physiological and physical standpoint. Weight watchers often think what to do if diets don’t help, get discouraged, can’t stand it and go back to their previous diets, break down or on the contrary stop eating. Of course, this is not an easy period, but you need to be patient and continue to follow the recommendations.
  2. The next important point – “Most different types of diets are equally effective when the principle of limiting the total caloric content of the diet is followed. The main predictor of diet success is systematic adherence to a given diet.” That is, it is not necessary to follow a 5-fold diet, as was popular before, you can stick to 3 meals a day, but with a calorie deficit.

An important aspect is to increase physical activity.

Without sport, diets don’t work, or don’t work correctly. Sports make the necessary adjustments:

  1. Reduces visceral fat and increases muscle mass.
  2. Relieves the decrease in resting energy expenditure caused by weight loss (helps deal with that very plateau).
  3. Lowers blood pressure.
  4. Increases glucose tolerance and sensitivity to insulin.
  5. Improves lipid profile, has a positive effect on long-term maintenance of body weight.

Recommended intensity of physical activity:

  1. Increased levels of physical activity (predominantly aerobic) up to 150 min per week are recommended during the weight loss phase.
  2. More intense physical activity (200 to 300 min per week) may be recommended for long-term weight maintenance.

Combined lifestyle changes (dietary changes in addition to exercise) result in more significant weight loss compared to “monotherapy” (diet or exercise).

Why else might a caloric deficit not work?

Let’s identify additional factors why no diet doesn’t work:

  1. Incorrect counting of food eaten.
  2. Incorrect distribution of meals during the day (e.g., no breakfast, a meager lunch and a heavy dinner).
  3. Sleeping problems – Late bedtime, lack of sleep or staying in bed too long (the effect of sleep on gaining weight could be described here, but that is a huge separate article)

The secondary nature of weight gain is rare, about 5% of all cases. This can include hypothyroidism (thyroid disorder), hyperproduction of cortisol (stress hormone), hyperprolactinemia. How to lose weight if diets do not help because of natural recruitment? – It’s optimal to get a checkup with a

How do popular diets work?

Among the hundreds of diets on the Internet, some stood out especially and gained great popularity. Conventionally, these diets can be divided into several categories:

  1. Extreme reduction of calories consumed.

The diet involves a drastic reduction in calories. The food eaten per day must fall within the parameters: 800 kcal. + 70-100 grams of protein + 15 grams of fat + 30-80 grams of carbohydrates. Such a diet provides rapid weight loss. It literally burns fat due to a drastic lack of calories. However, this effect will not last long, with 25% of the weight lost being muscle. A diet with drastic calorie restriction may be temporary, and serve solely as a trigger for further building a correct nutritional system.

  1. Low-fat diet.

With this diet, fats can make up only 15-30% of total food intake. In practice, for a diet of 1400 kcal, this is up to 40 grams of fat per day. Such diets are considered more effective than simply cutting calories. By controlling the fats consumed, the patient awakens their own fat burning processes. Due to this, the weight not only goes away more effectively, but the effect of the lost pounds lasts longer.

  1. Low-carbohydrate diets.

Low-carbohydrate diets work on the principle of a fat reduction system. By the way, diets of this type also do not work for the same reasons. By consuming a low amount of carbohydrates, weight is lost effectively, and along with strength training, it is possible to maintain muscle mass. How much is this “low amount” ? As of today, scientists cannot set a bar that will satisfy different types of studies. Averaged, it’s a figure of 40-60%. To be fair, it should be noted that studies have proven that carbohydrate and fat restriction work metabolically the same way.

  1. High-protein diets.

The protein diet is one of the most popular. No wonder. It’s tasty, varied, effective, and allows you to preserve muscle while burning mostly fat. A high-protein diet is a diet in which the protein intake is 30-60%. This is twice as much as the norm in a normal diet.

  1. Keto diet.

The keto diet involves switching to a diet in which the body burns ketone bodies instead of glucose. It is not so much a “diet” as it is a way of life. Today, it is a popular principle of dieting among stars. It’s hard to say whether diets work or not. In each case, the diet can show itself with individual results. That is why it is necessary to approach the issue of dieting responsibly, just like the treatment of any other organ.

Possible effects of diets

Each diet works individually, but the underlying principle is the same: deficiency. It doesn’t matter if it’s a deficit of calories, carbohydrates or fats. There is a downside to every diet – the body adapts to the new conditions, and slows down the weight loss process, in the end no diet works. Also, with sudden weight loss, there is a high risk of returning the pounds. It is difficult to say at the end of the day whether diets help. On the one hand it is a quick way to lose weight, improve skin condition, etc. On the other hand, there is a risk of damaging your health and regaining the lost kilograms with excess. This is why a balanced diet is considered the healthiest approach.

When a diet does not help to lose weight and you need to go to the doctor?

In some cases, diets do not work at all. This is due to a person’s hormonal background, a number of thyroid and other diseases, metabolism.

You should not try to solve these problems on your own. You are very unlikely to be able to at least shift the situation, but it is possible to cause irreparable damage to your health in a few weeks.

If you want to lose a significant amount of weight, you know you have a disease, you are trying to lose weight, but no diet is working, go to the doctor’s office. An examination and a professional, individualized report will help you and your nutritionist find the right diet.

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