Science Explains How Long You Need to Diet to Lose Weight (And Keep It Off)

Science Explains How Long You Need to Diet to Lose Weight (And Keep It Off)

lose weightHealth

Around the world, countless people are trying to lose weight. In fact, 45% of people in the United States had losing weight as their new year’s resolution in 2018. Many turn to diets of all sorts to achieve this goal.

But it’s more complicated than that. Diets take discipline, self-control, and knowledge in order to be pulled off correctly. This may be why 95% of all diets wind up failing and only 20% of overweight individuals who attempt to lose weight succeed in keeping it off.

Another key part of dieting is patience. If you’re too impatient in your efforts to lose weight, you may become discouraged too quickly and give up before you see visible results. To help motivate you, let’s consider what science says about how long you need to diet to lose weight and keep it off.

What Research Says About Dieting To Lose Weight

“A huge part of losing weight is believing you can do it and realizing  it’s not going to happen overnight.” – Anonymous

In the University of Copenhagen, research on obesity and weight loss has been in full swing for almost two whole years. Recently, they successfully published a paper in the European Journal of Endocrinology that explained their findings.

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The study involved 20 people classified as obese. They were placed on an eight-week diet that was low in calories to lose weight. Following this diet, these test subjects were to participate in a weight-maintenance regimen for a full year. During this period, they would meet with dieticians at regular intervals to get advice and track their progress.

Thrice during the period of the study, researchers took samples of the participants’ blood. This was done at the beginning of the study, after the dieting phase, and finally, after the year-long maintenance phase.

These samples were taken in order to examine the number of hormones responsible for hunger in the participants’ blood. Restrictive diets have a tendency to greatly increase these hormones, which is why so many diets fail and weight comes back on easily. This is the body’s way of fighting weight loss in order to keep you full and fed.

The collected samples revealed an impressive truth. After 12 months of maintaining their weight with dietician advice, the study participants had a dramatic hormone change. Instead of producing a lot of hunger-prompting hormones, they were producing more hormones that suppress appetite!

This means that this research has revealed a new, incredibly important finding. Dieting for two months and then working for a year to keep weight off is a reliable way to help the body reduce cravings and adjust to a new weight and eating habits!

What Type Of Diet?

All diets are calorie-restrictive in some way, but that’s often where the similarities end. There are so many different kinds of diets out there, and information on them is conflicting. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common types of diets people use to lose weight, how they work, and if they’re effective.

1.    Low-Carb Diets

Arguably the most popular kind of diet to lose weight, these diets require practice to keep their carb intake low. This pushes the body to burn fats for energy since it cannot rely on carbs.

Studies have shown that eating low-carb is a great way to lose weight. It’s especially useful for those who are overweight. Without carbs to supply glucose for energy, the body turns stored fat into ketones, which provide the fuel it needs. This can make you feel less hungry and also reduces a lot of disease risk.

With that being said, those with Type 1 diabetes and lactating women should consult with a doctor before going low-carb, as doing so incorrectly can cause a near-fatal and very rare condition called ketoacidosis.

2.    Paleo Diet

This diet helps individuals lose weight by making them revert to specific foods only. These foods are those that homo-sapien ancestors consumed before the advent of agriculture.

Many studies have suggested that the paleo diet can cinch the waist and cause good amounts of weight loss while lowering heart disease risk. It involves individuals eating mainly whole foods, fresh produce, and proteins to lose weight.

The diet has been proven to provide positive effects, but you will need to effectively make up for the loss of dairy and other food groups.

3.    Dukan Diet

This diet focuses on high-protein intakes while restricting carbs. It works through the use of weight loss as well as weight maintenance phases. It requires the consumption of oat bran as well as any foods high in protein during weight loss phases and non-starchy veggies during maintenance phases.

Studies have shown that a calorie-restrictive Dukan diet can cause high levels of weight loss. Others have suggested this low-carb, high-protein diet has positive effects.

However, there are not enough studies on the Dukan diet specifically for it to be guaranteed. Severe calorie restriction, as shown in one Dukan diet study, might cause severe muscle loss alongside fat loss, which is not a great effect.

4.    Vegan Diet

This diet involves cutting out all animal products and eating only plant products. It’s a very strict lifestyle change, but it may be good for weight loss. This is because the foods you can eat are typically more filling and lower in calories. Many on this diet don’t need to count calories at all!

However, the vegan diet – while proven to work – does not measure up to other diet methods. It does not promote weight loss as quickly, so if you’re impatient, it may not be the choice for you.

5.    Intermittent Fasting

This form of dieting involves eating a reasonable amount of daily calories within a certain amount of hours. Then, the remaining hours of the day are spent drinking water and staying clear of food.

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There are a variety of different intermittent fasting intervals to choose from, and plenty of studies suggest it works. It has positive metabolic effects and helps weight loss progress because practicers can’t eat several hours per day. However, speak to a doctor before choosing this method as some women, especially those with fertility issues, may have opposite results.

At the end of the day, it is recommended that you discuss diet changes with a doctor to see what works best for you. It can take a while to find a diet that fits your body. Be patient, keep your positive thinking, and talk to medical professionals for advice.

Other Factors That Affect How You Lose Weight

Weight loss is a fickle thing. There may be other factors affecting your weight loss progress. Here are some to keep in mind.

·         Initial weight

If your BMI is in the range of obese, you lose weight much, much faster. Those who are already in a “healthy” weight range will typically lose weight more slowly.

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