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Popular diets all achieve the same result, according to new study

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Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 5:51 PM -

As school starts again and Thanksgiving Day draws nearer, finding the motivation to lose weight is hard enough. Choosing the right diet, however, is even harder. Low-carbohydrate or low-fat – and which brand is better?

The answer is to choose whatever you want.

In a study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), data gathered from approximately 7,300 people and nearly 50 trials showed that the largest amount of weight loss any occurs with any low-carb or low-fat diets.


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The weight-loss differences between each diet were as low as 1.71 kilograms (3.76 pounds), between the Atkins diet and the Zone diet at a six-month follow-up. The study, conducted by Bradley C. Johnston, Ph.D., of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute and his various colleagues from across Canada and the U.S., examined medical literature and famous popular diets, including Weight Watchers, the Zone, Atkins, Onrush, Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, South Beach, and Nutrisystem.


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Popular diets are associated with an expensive industry. Each diet advertises a specific element that ensures more efficient weight loss than competitors, but in the study Johnston notes that these factors don’t matter as much. “Despite potential biological mechanisms explaining why some popular diets should be better than others, recent reviews suggest that most diets are equally effective, a message very different from what the public hears in advertisements or expert pronouncements.”

With the seasons rapidly changing in some parts of Canada, the holidays are soon approaching.

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