Does Crash Dieting Beat Slow And Steady?

by The Health Sciences Academy — Get free science updates here.


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You follow your weight loss programme to a tee, doing everything you’re supposed to do, but still that scale won’t budge.

Ever been there?

That scale can really be an enemy especially when you’ve set your best intentions in a well laid out weight loss plan and you’re not winning the losing game.

Have you or your client ever experienced the frustration whilst on a weight loss programme of not being able to see any positive movement on the scale?

Did you ever wonder if there was an alternate to slow and steady, a safe plan that could be quicker and offer a more favorable outcome, like crash dieting?

Wait, crash dieting, isn’t that a no-no?

Think about it – no matter which part of the world you live, any quality, weight loss curriculum recommends the best way to succeed is using the slow and steady pace. Over time your body will adjust, your weight will drop, and on your way to happiness you go. That’s the idea and supposedly there’s a science behind it.

But it doesn’t always happen as enchanting as that.

A new major study out of Australia proposes some pretty compelling results showing quite the opposite of what we’ve been told about the pace and style of our weight loss programmes.

Crash dieting might actually be more successful than conventional gradual weight loss programmes after all.

Can you believe that?

By the time you finish reading this article you too might believe in the power behind crash dieting and how its positive, long term results will contradict mostly everything you’ve been told.

The study that proved people wrong about crash dieting

Many experts recommend gradual weight loss for the treatment of obesity on the grounds that weight lost rapidly is more quickly regained.

But here’s the thing – lots of previous studies suggested that those who lost weight fast, lost more weight and that rapid weight loss is a major motivation for adherence to a weight loss programme.

Conversely, those on a gradual weight loss programme who do not see changes on the scale, become easily demotivated and simply drop out of their weight loss programmes.

New research just published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, involves an Australian study that engaged 200 obese adults. The participants were randomly divided in half and assigned to either a 12-week rapid weight loss programme or a 36-week gradual weight loss programme. Their goal was to lose a minimum of 12.5% of their body weight.

The results were astounding!

This is especially powerful given that the study was a peer-reviewed randomised controlled trial (RCT), the GOLD standard of clinical research, which aimed to compare the effect of rapid and gradual weight loss programmes on both the rate of weight loss and the rate of weight regain in obese people.

It was a considerably thorough study, which included blood samples, hormonal analysis, body composition analysis, appetite levels, and blood pH levels, to name a few.

The results?

81% of the people in the rapid weight loss group achieved their target weight loss, compared to just 50% of those in the gradual weight loss group. (The other 50% dropped out!)

Losing weight quickly may motivate people to persist with their diet and achieve better results. Quicker weight loss can boost your motivation as the rewards appear more rapidly and your brain is able to register those changes (and readjust) faster.

What about weight regain?

This randomised controlled trial (RCT) took place in two phases.

In the initial phase participants either followed a rapid weight loss programme or a gradual weight loss programme. That was followed by a second phase, where those who had achieved the target weight loss (12.5% of their body weight) entered the same longer-term maintenance phase, which consisted of a 144-week duration (2.7 years).

The findings of this research kiboshed the common claim that speedier, initial weight loss is associated with a more rapid regain. That claim is false.

The study researchers concluded:

The rate of weight loss does not affect the proportion of weight regained within 144 weeks.

Weight regain is associated with other complex factors, which can involve your brain, your hormones, and even your gut. Successful weight maintenance assumes resetting your internal biochemistry for the long run: your brain along with your hormonal and gut homeostatic systems that regulate appetite, so maintaining can actually feel natural and effortless.

These findings reinforce the formulas that we have been teaching in our Advanced Clinical Weight Loss course where our students learn exactly how to achieve successful weight loss and maintain it (so it’s not regained back).

How do we broadly apply these findings for our own success

The first and foremost consideration before launching a successful crash diet plan is that it needs to be done safely and carefully to avoid severe nutrient deficiencies and harmful health effects.

This is something we also teach in our Detox Specialist programme, where you learn how to identify the best short-term diet for you and apply science-based nutritional strategies to keep things safe yet effective.

Undoubtedly, there are several ways to drop weight. The best one is the one that works for you and that you stick to because you are seeing results. That in itself serves as a powerful motivator.

There is indeed tremendous power in a rapid weight loss diet.

It certainly can be a better approach since more people can achieve their target loss and less people will prematurely abort their plan based on their own frustration of not seeing results quick enough. This is especially true seeing from this study that crash dieting is better than the gradual loss in the short term and truly no worse in the long term.

Join the conversation!

Why do you think that slow and steady may not always win the weight loss race? What do you think it takes to achieve successful maintenance?

Let us know and join in the conversation below.

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