The Reason Fad Diets Often Fail

One witty journalist wrote an article in The Telegraph this week comparing fad diets with voting UKIP, claiming that both promise the easy answers we all want, but in the long term, only makes things worse.
But why are quick weight loss diets so bad? Often, reaching a target weight isn’t the issue, but keeping that weight off is. A Dutch study has found evidence to support the theory of why this is.
There is a difference in muscle mass and fat mass on each of us. When people talk about losing weight, they are almost always referring to trying to get rid of the fat that we build up on an unhealthy diet, and make us look out of shape. However, fast acting diets can make us lose muscle mass, in addition or even instead of fat, which means in the long term, the weight will not stay off.
The study put two groups of people on different diets on two different time scales. They aimed to make them lose the same amount of weight, but over a five week or a 12 week period.
They took a measurement of muscle and fat mass before and after for both groups, and found that the five week group lost almost three times as much muscle mass as the 12 week group, although they lost the same amount of weight overall.
Muscle mass is important however as it is the tissue that uses the energy stored in fat. Without high amounts of it, burning fat becomes harder, and so weight is steadily gained after coming off the diet. It is thought muscle tissue is lost so quickly during a fast diet because it is high in proteins that the body is left without when dieting.
There are not many easy answers in life, and this study suggests that remains true for dieting. Long term healthy eating and exercise will lead to weight loss and keeping a trim figure.

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