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Weight Loss Methods - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Many of us have tried to lose weight, often with varying degrees of success. Common weight loss methods often have conflicting recommendations, which makes it difficult to determine the healthiest approach to weight loss. Sometimes, diets can be successful in the beginning, however, over time, old habits creep in and strict plans become near impossible to stick to. Or, that night out or birthday happens and it's enough to tip us over the edge and oftentimes, the all or nothing mentality kicks in and we throw the whole thing out completely.

The success criteria for a successful weight loss program is an individual must lose 5% of their body weight and maintain that for 1 year. Here we will take a look at popular weight loss methods and review their efficacy and show you just how EASY weight loss can be!


Atkins Diet

The One Liner

Atkins Diet is famous for its carbohydrate-restricting rules. During the initial period, this diet can be very difficult - particularly for people that are used to large quantities of carbohydrate in their daily diets. The sudden drop in carb intake can have a variety of serious and severe side effects.

The Bottom Line

Research shows that the Atkins Diet is not a sustainable or healthy way to lose weight.

The American Heart Association was one of the pioneers in issuing a warning against high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets as a means of losing weight. The Atkins diet is 60%–68% fat with around 26% of which are saturated. These quantities shift the metabolic pathway for energy production, deliver a strong boost to free radical production, thereby increasing oxidative stress on different organs. This places increased oxidative stress on the heart. This, coupled with the low potassium in cardiac tissues resulting from the loss of minerals due to dehydration can have serious, even fatal, consequences. Not to mention, the increased oxidative stress coupled with reduced fibre intake of a low-carbohydrate diet increases the risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract and the lungs.

If that is not enough to sway your decision, the weight loss benefits from the diet are also lacking. The restrictive nature is likely to lead to yo-yo dieting and participants end up heavier than they were, to begin with!


Weight Watchers

The One Liner

To date, Weight Watchers in undeniably one of the most well researched and popular diets around. It works off a points system whereby each food is given a grade based on their total energy yield, sugar, protein and fat amounts. When an individual joins the program, they are allocated their personal points budget based on their age, weight, height, and sex. By sticking to this points budget the idea is that it should help you reach your goal weight.

The Bottom Line

Weight Watchers does not restrict foods. Although the revised program encourages participants to eat mainly zero-point foods such as fresh veggies and fruit, yoghurt and quality protein, you could successfully "stick to the diet" by eating prepackaged foods that add up to your total points no dramas at all. One of the issues of this diet is if the program is done using too many pre-packaged foods then nutrient intake is lacking and it is not a healthy, nor sustainable weight loss tool. Also, carbohydrate-heavy "zero point foods" can still add up to a substantial energy intake per day and participants can easily go overboard. The nature of the diet means that participants need to be vigilant with tracking and as such often give up then experience the Yo-Yo dieting effect - ending up heavier than what they were to begin the diet. Another reason why it fails is that the individual's biochemistry is not assed in the initial stages. Sure their height and weight may be looked into but any nutritionist or dietician will tell you that there is far more to the health of a person than a number on a tape measure or scale. As a result, the metabolism of the specific individual has not assessed or been supported, and instead starved and restricted of nutrients that it needs to function!


Shake Diets

The One Liner

You will lose weight quickly but as soon as you stop on you will pile the weight back on!

The Bottom Line

As appealing as no meal preparation may seem in the interim, meal replacement diets don’t teach you to prepare your own healthy meals or how to make healthy choices when you’re out and about. Meal replacements are a bandaid solution to lifestyle issues surrounding food. Often, shakes are loaded in sugar, fillers, additives and preservatives. They are loaded with fillers and chemicals. Taking out real food is never a good idea especially when it is replaced with chemicals. In short, I would not recommend that a client should substitute one single meal with a shake - let alone 2 - 3 per day. Bandaid = rebound = waste of time and money.


Ketogenic Diet

The One Liner

Kind of like the Atkins diet - but amplified. It is essentially no carbohydrate and HEAPS of fat.

The Bottom Line

Research points to the fact that it could provide real therapeutic benefits for some people. The thing is here, you need to be well aware of the populations it is researched and proven for, and then decide with the help of a medical team and nutritionist or dietician if you are one of those people. It is an incredibly restrictive diet, and like all the other restrictive diets discussed above as a consequence poses some health risks. If you enjoy a piece of sourdough and love an abundance of amazing fruits and vegetables then this diet is not for you!


Exercise Only

The One Liner

There is no doubt that exercise is GREAT and so healthy for us when done in the right amounts. However, no amount of exercise will ever make up for poor dietary choices.

The Bottom Line

You are what you eat. The mentality that you should "run-off" or "burn off" extra calories to make way for a doughnut or chocolate is a vicious cycle to be entering into. It places stress unnecessary on the body and actually promotes an inflammatory response. When we look at the amount of time it would take to burn off large amounts of treats, you would be running all day! Research clearly shows us you can't outrun a bad diet!


Metabolic Balance

The One Liner

Metabolic Balance is an individualized and highly researched program. It has been developed over 20 years by doctors and German medical teams to ensure the most up to date and scientifically backed information was used to create a foolproof program. MB is a lifestyle change and is scientifically backed and proven to outperform all other weight loss programs when it comes to losing and maintaining weight loss in the long term.

The Bottom Line

We know it works! The results of Metabolic Balance don't stop at weight loss. The MB plan takes 36 blood chemistry markers and additional individual information to generate an individualised nutrition plan and food list for clients. The client works with a qualified nutritional medicine practitioner over a 12 week period to change their dietary and lifestyle habits. The program is gentle and effectively uses food as medicine to re-boot the metabolism. This reboot puts hormones, chemical messengers, enzymes and blood chemistry back to the way they should be allowing for the body to release excess weight gradually. The client works closely with their MB coach and is monitored and coached to ensure that they are motivated and consistently seeing results.

A recent study showed the comparison of the long term weight loss success of clients who participated MB when compared to other weight loss methods listed above. The “Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism” published this study at the end of December 2010. The study demonstrated that the Metabolic Balance program is a highly effective program for both weight loss and quality of life. The study was conducted in cooperation with the Department of Quality Management and Social Medicine of the Medical Centre of the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. The results clearly show that with Metabolic Balance, overweight people can effectively reduce their weight and maintain weight loss in the long term. The researchers were equally surprised by a significant improvement in the participants’ blood values during the course of the study as well as the clear improvement reported by the participants for their personal and health-related quality of life.

Another result of the study shows that the systematic change in the diet through Metabolic Balance significantly improves the symptoms of metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension and lipid metabolism disorders).

Among the Metabolic Balance study participants who suffered from metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the program, 76% of the participants no longer met the criteria for this diagnosis after one year.

The program uses real food, personalised nutrition and educates the individual meaning no more yo-yo dieting. It is the program that shows chronic dieters just why all other previous weight loss attempts have failed.

If you would like to know more about a particular dietary approach, please let us know! Or, if you would like help in determining an appropriate weight loss plan to suit your individual needs, one of our Clinical Nutritionist's would be so happy to help!

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