Crash diets aren’t generally seen as a sensible way to lose weight. Tell your friends you’re considering such a diet, and you probably won’t be met with much encouragement – it’s practically a truism that there are no quick fixes to weight loss.
However, a recent study has cast doubt on the received wisdom, by claiming that meal replacement diets might actually work better than conventional approaches.
In this study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), 278 obese adults who were looking to lose weight were assigned either to a ‘total diet replacement’ regime, or to a more slow-and-steady weight management programme.
The former group was restricted to soups, shakes and bars totaling just 810 kcal a day, whereas the latter group was advised to eat healthily and cut calories. (In both cases, the programme lasted 12 weeks, and participants received support from a counsellor.)
A year after the start of the study, most of the participants had lost weight and kept it off. However, the crash dieting group had lost nearly four times as much weight as the healthy eating group (10.7 kg versus 3.1 kg).
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