Losing Weight Slowly is Not Better Than Rapid Weight Loss For Long-Term Weight Control

According to an article in Natural Practitioner Magazine from November of this year, it has been officially recognized that this long time notion is now defunct that you must lose 4391885681_3658437dd5_mweight gradually to achieve overall results.

Slow and steady weight loss does not reduce the amount or rate of weight re-gain compared with losing weight quickly.  Research was revealed in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Newsletter.

This study was conducted by a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne and head of the Weight Control Clinic at Austin Health in Australia.  They were examining whether losing weight at a slow initial rate as recommended by current guidelines throughout the world, resulted in larger long-term weight reduction and less weight re-gain than just losing weight at a faster initial rate in obese individuals.

The Australian study included 200 obese adults with a BMI of 30-45kg/m2, who were randomly assigned to either a 12-week rapid weight loss program on a very low calorie diet of only 450=-800 cal/day or a 36-week gradual weight loss program.  In this case they reduced the calories by 500 a day in line with current dietary weight loss guidelines.

  • 81% of the Rapid Weight Loss participants lost 12.5% of their bodyweight versus 50% of the Slow Weight Loss Group.
  • The initial rate of weight loss did not affect the amount or rate of weight re-gain in these patients who entered the weight maintenance period after weight loss – so after three years both groups had re-gained the same amount of weight as each other.
  • 71% of the participants had re-gained weight in both groups within three years of this maintenance period.
  • These results show that achieving a weight loss target of 12.5% is more likely and drop-out is lower, if losing weight is done quickly.
  • The authors suggest a number of possible explanations for their findings:

The limited carbohydrate intake of very low calorie diets might promote greater satiety and less food intake by inducing ketosis.  Losing weight quickly may also motivate participants to persist with their diet and achieve better results.

What has been your experience with weight loss on the long-term?  Did you find that it made any difference if you lost weight quickly or slowly as far as keeping it off?  Tweet me @nutritionlinda and let me know your experiences.


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