Het magere resultaat van diëten

Stand van zaken
Mirjam Langeveld en J.H. (Hans) de Vries

The mediocre results of dieting

  • Diets involving a reduction in caloric intake are frequently prescribed for the treatment of obesity, but their long-term efficacy is questionable.

  • We considered a calorie restricted diet successful if the weight loss was ≥ 5% after at least 3 years follow up.

  • From published data, calculating a definitive percentage of successful cases is difficult because of the way data are presented and because loss to follow-up is not corrected for in many studies.

  • Judging by the best data available, the success rate is very low. Most individuals will regain weight and sometimes even more than they lost in the first place.

  • The mechanisms driving this weight increase are a decrease in energy expenditure and an increased appetite which is mediated by factors such as leptin.

  • If the first attempt to lose weight fails, the advice to go on a diet should not be endlessly repeated; stabilizing the individual’s weight would probably be a more realistic goal.

  • Conflict of interest: none declared. Financial support: none declared.