Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Challenging conventional wisdom about weight loss

This is an interesting paper just published (the whole thing is available as a pdf). It really challenges some of the more generally accepted ideas about weight loss. For example it challenges the ideas that:
  • you can easily lose weight by being in calorie deficit
  • it is always healthier to lose weight
There is a danger of a fat acceptance idea in there to watch out for and I think they miss the obvious that a low carb / paleo diet might addresses some of their points (i.e., it is not about calorie deficit but food quality).

Still, it is worth reading.

Validity of claims made in weight management research: a narrative review of dietetic articles

The best available evidence demonstrates that conventional weight management has a high long-term failure rate. The ethical implications of continued reliance on an energy deficit approach to weight management are under-explored.

3 comments:

darwinstable said...

I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing. Why not focus on health rather than weight loss. I think fat acceptance doesn't mean everyone is just going to throw all their health ideas out the window. It is just a change of focus.

John Paul said...

Fat loss is just a by product of being healthy. The real focus should be on being healthy. Everything else will follow.

Dan Hubbard, M.Ed. said...

I think that this paper is enlightening and reminds us that so much research in the field of nutrition is pretty weak by science standards and a lot of the claims are sensationalized. The author mentions that in the studies reviewed, just in the four year period, some had no methods reported, some had no control group, and some had a very small number of subjects in the experimental group.

Additionally, especially here in the US, we equate thinness with health. We feel starvation and chronic exercise are noble pursuits.

Personally, I work with many clients whose primary goal is weight loss. They don't care about health or what means they have to endure to get there. It is sad. They have such a negative image of their bodies (even though they have average or better than average levels of body fat) and are constantly demonstrating signs of eating disorders. When clients get to their goal they look weak, emaciated, tired, and unhealthy. But, they are happy.

Less and less do I take on 'fat loss' clients. While I have been successful in helping them reach their goals (even with <3kg/month weight loss), I can't help but feel like they are unhealthier after than they were before.