NEW RESEARCH WILL SHOW THAT THE SIMPLISTIC “DIET BOOK” REMEDIES WILL FAIL OVER THE LONG RUN AND FOR MOST PEOPLE…WHICH IS JUST FINE WITH THE DIET BOOK PUBLISHERS AS THEY WILL JUST PUBLISH NEW BOOKS SAYING THE SAME THINGS IN DIFFERENT WAYS…SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT LOSS AND IDEAL SHAPE IS A LIFESTYLE COMMITMENT…MOTIVATION WILL COME FROM REASONS TO LOSE WEIGHT AND BE FIT, NOT SIMPLE CHOICES…EAT WHOLE FOODS IN SMALLER PORTIONS AND KEEP OVERALL DAILY CALORIES UNDER 2,000….
“There is a growing body of literature that shows [weight loss is] more complex” than a pound per 3,500 calories, says Lynn Silver, assistant commissioner of the New York City Health Department’s bureau of chronic disease prevention and control. Dr. Silver says the city has recognized the new science by couching its statements about obesity reduction with phrases such as “up to,” rather than “at least.” She adds, “If it does take more than 3,500 calories to lose a pound or not gain a pound, then it makes it all the more important to change the food environment.”
“If we launch a national campaign with the wrong assumptions, aiming for example to shift the calorie balance by 50 to 100 calories per day, we’re going to be sorely disappointed with the results.”
How many calories must a dieter cut to lose a pound?
The answer most dietitians have long provided is 3,500. But recent studies indicate that calories can’t be converted into weight through a simple formula.
The result is that the 3,500-calorie rule of thumb gets things very wrong over the long term, and has led health analysts astray. Much bigger dietary changes are needed to gain or shed pounds than the formula suggests.
Consider the chocolate-chip-cookie fan who adds one 60-calorie cookie to his daily diet. By the old math, that cookie would add up to six pounds in a year, 60 pounds in a decade and hundreds of pounds in a lifetime.
But new research—based on studies of volunteers whose calorie consumption is observed in laboratory settings, rather than often-unreliable food diaries—suggests that the body’s self-regulatory mechanisms tamp down the effects of changes in diet or behavior. If the new nutritional science is applied, the cookie fiend probably will see his weight gain approach six pounds, and then level off, pediatrician David Ludwig and nutrition scientist Martijn Katan wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year. The same numbers, in reverse, apply to weight loss.