Blog Post Why most diets fail miserably

Dr. Jeffrey Brown’s views on the flaws of most mainstream diets and how taking a generic approach to weight-loss works some of the time, but by no means the majority of the time
Oct

20

2013

Why most diets fail miserably

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Dr. Brown’s views on the flaws of most mainstream diets and how taking a generic approach to weight-loss works some of the time, but by no means the majority of the time

I repeat this almost every day in my practice, and I’ll say it here again: most mainstream, generic diets are deeply flawed. They can work some of the time, but by no means do they work most of the time.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. One-size-fits-all diets tacitly encourage people to do exactly that: follow the same plan, lose weight, gain it all back, then try again. For most people, this process becomes a lifelong struggle. Most eventually quit altogether because they always feel hungry, have no energy, are plagued by boredom, feel unwell and never address the lifestyle challenges that contributed to their weight gain in the first place.

These diets generally tell you that to lose a pound of weight you have to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. So, let’s say you were on a calorie-counting diet that allocated 1,200 calories to eat when your body needs 1,700 calories to survive. That leaves a deficit of 500 calories per day, so over the course of a week that gives you the 3,500 calories you need to lose that pound. By the way, this is probably a low-carb diet that restricts carbohydrates such as rice, starchy vegetables, bread, pasta and sugary foods to help their followers lose weight.

Trouble is low-carb diets tend to lower your metabolic rate and actually burn fewer calories. The reason: when it’s deprived of carbs, your body recognizes that it’s being pushed into a starvation state, and therefore goes into survival mode. In this scenario, your body doesn’t want to give up any of the security in its fat bank—in much the same way you wouldn’t want to empty your actual bank account without a very good reason. This reaction will cause the release of hunger hormones, which explains why you always feel starved on these diets.

Needless to say, low-carb diets fail long term. Your body will eventually hit plateaus and rapidly gain back any weight you lost once you take a break from the strictly-regimented low-carb program. And forget the ice cream and cake—once you go low-carb, you’re basically on at least a modified version of this sort of diet for life for fear of gaining the weight back.

Of course, low-carb diets aren’t the only culprit, just the most common. Here are a few other reasons why the most common fad diets fail:

•Fad diets aren’t designed to evolve as your weight-loss progresses (or doesn’t), so they fail to provide the variety and motivation that helps alleviate the boredom that sabotages so many dieters’ success
•Fad diets aren’t built on flexibility and don’t suit busy lifestyles
•Fad diets fail to teach you how to eat properly using real food—they simply cut your caloric intake
•Fad diets aren’t designed to last – they ask you to change your life for two weeks and then go back to normal, leaving most people to revert back to their old nutritional habits
•Fad diets leave you hungry—and hungry people are never happy people

While it may be tempting to jump on the fad diet bandwagon, remember that it takes smart science, a sound plant and real dedication to achieve long-term weight-loss. Taking the easy way may produce short-term results, but those pounds are sure to find their way back to your waistline before long.

Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Medical Director
Your Body Evolution
Weight Loss Through Wellness
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