Statistics Say Diets Don’t Work

Statistics say diets don’t work. The first time I actually paid attention to this statement, I thought,”You mean I’m not the only one who’s dieted, lost weight, and gained it back?” What a relief to have this conclusion make the news! The question scientists finally began to study was: why are we able to lose weight but not able to keep it off?

Sandra Aamodt
Sandra Aamodt

Sandra Aamodt, a neuroscientist and science writer, concluded diets don’t work after her own attempts to lose weight and keep it off. If diets don’t work, then what can we do? See what she says about the positive effects of healthy habits. Here’s her 2013 TED talk, which lasts about 13 minutes. Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work

When we diet, our focus is on measuring the amount of food we’re allowed to eat and trying to convince ourselves it’s adequate, but we often leave the table hungry. No fun.

Weights and Measures
Weights and Measures

When we’ve completed a weight-loss program and try to return to normal eating, we no longer know how. Everything looks soooo good, especially the foods we haven’t had for a while. We’ve conditioned ourselves to consult a diet instead of our hunger signals, so we overeat. The problem with food restriction is that it can lead to eating disorders, such as bingeing.

How hungry am I?
How hungry am I?

Psychologists explain that diets don’t work in the long run because of factors such as conditioning and heredity. If our parents and grandparents tended to be heavy, we have the same tendency. Psychology Today: Why Diets Don’t Work

Diets also don’t work because they ignore our “energy balance.” We burn more calories when we’re more active. See the statistics in a 2012 article in The Washington Post: Why Diets Don’t Work

I plan to cite more stats in the coming months. There are many studies in progress. I hope you’ve found find the information thus far helpful – and encouraging!

Posted on December 23, 2014

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