Tag Archive for 'New England Journal of Medicine'

Just when you think you know how to lose weight.


Whoever finds a single fool proof way to lose weight is guaranteed to become the richest person on earth. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, a one-size-fits-all super diet will probably never be discovered. If it is not enough that our bodies are so different, there are many, many other factors at play including cultural differences, lifestyle differences, socio-economic differences and taste preferences. The list of factors that can impact on weight loss success just goes on and on.

It’s really no wonder then that we are bombarded with conflicting and confusing scientific reports. It is very difficult to conduct an experiment that considers all of these variables. As a result, we are left with many reputable and conflicting scientific reports, each claiming that yet another dietary approach is the be-all and end-all for losing weight. Whether it is the Atkins or the Mediterranean Diet, the Low Fat or Low GI diet, or even Weight Watchers; the list is never-ending. It is just too easy to become a bit cynical after a while. How refreshing then, to come across a scientific study that found that most well balanced popular diets work well, irrespective of whether it is high in protein, low in fat, low in carbohydrates or any combination of these!

This study, called the “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates” was published on February 26, 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Its aim was to try and put an end to the age-old debate around the question “Which type of diet is most effective for weight loss”. The research team was of the opinion that many of the conflicting scientific reports on the weight loss topic published previously were based on populations too small to be representative, and that many studies did not track the progress of participants for a long enough period to provide sufficient information for assessment.
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The Mediterranean Diet?


So what exactly is all this fuss about the Mediterranean Diet? Everywhere you go, the topic comes up in discussions as the solution to all our weight problems. The name itself conjures up associations of lazy summer holidays, sumptuous food, wine and good friends. How can a diet like this not be extremely enjoyable?

In a recent study the Mediterranean type diet was compared head on to Low-Carb and Low-Fat type diets. It came out with flying colors. Average weight loss on the Mediterranean diet almost equaled that of Low-Carb diets, while most definitely offering a more varied and exciting menu. Most importantly; the range of implementation options and food groups this eating plan offers makes it much easier to permanently change to your everyday eating habits for sustained weight loss.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine (17 July 2008), found that participants in the Low-Carb group lost the most weight with a two year sustained average loss of 10.4 lb (4.7 kg). The group on the Mediterranean diet followed close on their heels with an average weight loss of 9.7 lb (4.4 kg). Interestingly, the average weight loss of those on the Low-Fat Diet was considerably lower at only 6.4 lb (2.9 kg). Women did better than men on the Mediterranean Diet, and the diet was also found to have definite general health benefits such as the prevention of Type II Diabetes and heart problems, as well as improved longevity.

Now that we know the Mediterranean diet warrants a closer look; what is it exactly?


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