Little difference between diets, it's the sticking that counts: Research

By Anna Bonar contact

- Last updated on GMT

'You need to make smart food choices and the rule of thumb is that 80% of our food choices should be healthy food choices,' says researcher.
'You need to make smart food choices and the rule of thumb is that 80% of our food choices should be healthy food choices,' says researcher.

Related tags: Nutrition

All diets have similar effects and people should concentrate less on choosing a specific one and more on how to last longer following it, Canadian research has suggested. 

Meta-analysis​ of 48 randomised control trials showed weight loss differences across branded diets were scientifically significant, but still minimal.

“Industry needs to focus on intervention to improve adherence to dietary programmes. If for the most part these diets are equal how do we induce long-term lifestyle changes in individuals that are overweight and obese?” ​said Dr Bradley Johnston, a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children's Research Institute.

The research aimed to gather and analyse all available data so that individuals looking for a diet could make an informed decision. The diets analysed included Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, Zone, Rosemary Conley, Slimming World, Jenny Craig and South Beach.

“People want to know of all of the available branded diets which one may be superior. What typically happens is the public is exposed to results from a single study or an expert or celebrity endorsements. This can be very misleading,”​ Johnston told Food Navigator.

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 “Dietary programmes that result in the most weight loss typically have an exercise component and support component,”​ said Johnston.

“You need to make smart food choices and the rule of thumb is that 80% of our food choices should be healthy food choices and 20% of the time we can fall off the bandwagon and have our treats,”​ he added.


The research concentrated on weight loss and Johnston said further research should be conducted to examine other health issues such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol which could vary between the branded diets.

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links to publication

Posted by sigrid gibson,

I agree with Rebecca, it would not be difficult to include publication details. For your info I have found out ...

Journal References:
Bradley C. Johnston, Steve Kanters, Kristofer Bandayrel, Ping Wu, Faysal Naji, Reed A. Siemieniuk, Geoff D. C. Ball, Jason W. Busse, Kristian Thorlund, Gordon Guyatt, Jeroen P. Jansen, Edward J. Mills. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults. JAMA, 2014; 312 (9): 923 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.10397
Also see Editorial
Linda Van Horn. A Diet by Any Other Name Is Still About Energy. JAMA, 2014; 312 (9): 900 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.10837

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Link to the research

Posted by Rebecca,

Is it possible to provide a link to the research in question - or at least the lead author and publication.

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Can you be more vague?

Posted by Grant Roberts,

Oversimplification is not science. Number one everyone is on a diet, that is what we call food. The study does not prescribe nutrients based on lean body mass... so who knows what or how much the group was consuming Number two "weight-loss" tells us nothing about what was lost, fat, muscle or water?

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