Major problems with many diets is that you lose weight, sometimes quickly, but in time you put it all back on again—and sometimes even more.
You follow the plan or eat only those foods that you are told to eat for four or even six months. True, you lose a certain amount of weight, but when you stop following the plan or stop buying the products offered by the program the weight comes right back.Read More »
An additional problem is that in many cases you simply cannot maintain the program.
Diet promises to keep the weight off
Now a new diet developed by nutritionists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign promises that it will not only help you lose those additional pounds but also will keep them off.
The team of nutritionists say it is a self-guided approach that includes tools that are easy to use.
They call it iDip.
What the diet does not do
Perhaps what is most striking about this plan is what the diet does not do.
It avoids offering recipes for participants to use, explains Mindy H. Lee, a graduate student who is co-author of the study. It stays away from a strict dietary plan. It also excludes food groups in the way that low-fat or low-carbohydrate plans do.
So what does it do?
The main goal is to inform participants so that they can make their own informed decisions. In that way they can create their own weight-management plan that is sustainable.
Flexibility in your diet is key to achieving weight loss and maintaining it, says Manabu T. Nakamura, a professor of nutrition at the university who was co-author of the study. When you quit other programs, the weight returns. That, she adds, is “very discouraging” for those dieters.
Tool tracks your eating
A visual tool developed by the researchers tracks dieters’ intake of protein and fiber. It then helps them choose foods that cut down their overall calories without reducing their fiber and protein.
The diet is based on guidelines issued by the Institutes of Medicine. The iDip visual tool plots the densities of protein and fiber per calorie in foods and measures them against a target range for meals.
The tool enables users to create meals with a total of about 80 grams of protein and 20 grams of fiber each day. At the same time, it limits the intake of food to fewer than 1,500 calories a day.
Weighing yourself daily and recording the trend is a significant tool, Nakamura explains. It is easy to sustain over a lifetime. It is also a good habit for anyone who seeks to lose weight or to maintain their weight.
Participants were all overweight
The 14 participants in the initial study raged in age from 24 to 59. All had a body mass index of more than 28, which placed them in the obese or overweight categories. The participants reported that they suffered health conditions such as high blood pressure that were related to their obesity. They also had previously tried two or more weight-loss products or commercial diet programs.
During the trial the participants weighed themselves daily at home using a scale that was linked to the internet. The researchers gave each person a chart that showed their weekly progress in losing weight as well as the amount of weight that they intended to lose and their weight goal in six months.
The daily weight watching as well as the charts showing the weekly progress enabled those who took part to monitor their progress without completing a daily food journal or counting calories which can be time consuming, tedious, and even inaccurate, Nakamura explains.
During the program, which took place over a year, participants also attended 22 educational talks that were led by registered dietitians. Included were 19 group lectures that provided information on nutrition. The talks also explained how the participants could apply the knowledge they had gained when they were cooking or went grocery shopping.
The talks also concentrated on the benefits of undertaking physical exercise as well as how to work through plateaus in weight loss and maintenance.
Half achieved the goal
Of the 14 original participants, 12 completed the program. Half of the participants achieved the goals of losing at least 5% of their body weight. They maintained it during the follow-up phase which lasted six months, Lee said.
Although the number of people who took part was small, the researchers say it showed that the program is feasible.
A third trial of iDip is being held now with 30 people taking part. So far the results are even more promising, Lee says. The participants have lost about 6.5% of their body weight at the end of the six-month phase, she adds.
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