Rapid weight loss better than slow, studies show

Losing a lot of weight at once is the best way to permanently slim down, studies presented at Stockholm's International Congress on Obesity showed, going against accepted wisdom even among doctors.

Katrina Purcell of the University of Melbourne in Australia, presented a study in which she compared a rapid diet to lose around 1.5 kilos (three pounds) a week over 12 weeks, to a gradual 36-week diet to lose 0.5 kilos per week.

"Surprisingly, and against current beliefs, this study shows rapid weight loss appears to be superior to gradual weight loss in achieving target weight," she said of the study conducted on subjects weighing around 100 kilos.

Her results showed that 78 percent of those on the rapid diet achieved the target of losing 15 percent of their body weight within the determined period, while only 48 percent of those on the gradual diet met the target.

One of the reasons, she said, is psychological and has to do with motivation.

On the rapid diet, "subjects lose 1.5 kg a week and that keeps them going. On the gradual diet, when you lose 0.5 kg now and then" motivation is harder to keep, she said.

In fact, four of the participants following the gradual diet gave up before the end of the experiment, against only one in the rapid diet group.

Purcell is however quick to warn against so-called crash diets, in which weight is lost very quickly by drastically slashing calories.

"Don't do it by yourself, do it with a dietician," she cautioned.

But her study carried a heavy handicap: it does not say what happened to participants after the initial weight loss, with many doctors and dieticians believing that more weight loss is related to more weight gain thereafter, and therefore less weight maintenance.

That is why the researcher is currently following the two groups to see who of the rapid or gradual dieters best keeps the weight off for good. Those results are expected in about three years.

But already, the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has studied the link between the amount of weight lost during a weight loss programme and the maintenance of the weight loss afterwards.

According to the institute's study, also presented at the conference in Stockholm, 54 percent of those who went down in size during a weight loss programme kept the kilos off, regardless of the amount initially lost.

Furthermore, the study found that net weight loss one year after the intervention was higher for those with a higher initial weight loss.

That means "weight loss of 10 percent or more should be encouraged and favoured above lower weight losses," researcher Jeroen Barte said, adding that his team's findings "dispel a myth."

The researcher however warned "more research is need to determine optimal weight loss targets, and to establish best practices for optimal maintenance of weight losses."

And despite her findings, Katrina Purcell continues to advocate long-term diets because they imply a life-long change in eating habits.

In fact, researchers agree that eating and lifestyle habits are among the main culprits contributing to obesity.

At the congress, experts advocated controlling portion sizes, fighting against aggressive marketing from the food industry, product reformulation to lower salt and sugar contents, different fiscal measures and labelling menus for calorie content.

"We need a cultural change," summed up Bruce Silverglade of the International Association of Consumer food organisations (IACFO), an association of non-governmental organisations.

ig/rdm/cjo

 

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

    Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

    Early Years Educator

    £68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

    Nursery Nurse

    £69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

    Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam