It's happened to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and to folks like you and me: Weight gain after weight loss. Researchers call it the "weight rebound" effect. And now they've found several solutions to avoiding that weighty roller-coaster in a meta-analysis of diet studies, reported Science Daily on October 31.
NBC News reports that more than 80 percent of people who have lost weight regain all of it, or more, after two years. And when researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed 31 long-term diet studies, they discovered that two-thirds of dieters regained more weight within four or five years than they initially lost.
But now a new study has shown three different approaches to maintaining weight loss without rebounding:
- anti-obesity drugs
- meal replacements
- high protein diets
To discover these guidelines for avoiding weight rebound, researchers at Karolinska Institute's Clinical Epidemiology Unit and the Obesity Center at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden combined the results of 20 published scientific studies. They studied numerous different approaches to determine what really works, from exercise to dietary supplements.
"The body has several defense mechanisms against weight loss, such as increased hunger, lower energy metabolism and relapse back to old habits," explained research team member Dr Erik Hemmingsson.
"If the problem of rebound weight gain didn't exist, obesity would be relatively easy to treat. There have been several possible methods to facilitate long-term weight control over the years, and now the database was large enough to make a systematic evaluation of existing studies."
The study showed what works as well as what doesn't. The researchers were particularly impressed with the weight loss maintenance facilitated by high protein diets such as the Atkins plan as well as meal replacement products.
"Anti-obesity drugs unfortunately carry a risk of adverse events, so the most effective drugs were completely withdrawn a few years ago," says Dr Hemmingsson. "Meal replacement products and high protein diets, on the other hand, are effective and available to everyone."
What did not help as much:
- dietary supplements
Learn more about the latest research and views on high protein diets and meal replacements by clicking the links below:
- A Paleo diet expert explains why all calories are not alike
- A study shows how whey protein powder meal replacements boosts calorie burn
- Dr. Oz explores high fat, high protein diets
- An Australian researchers explains the benefits of high protein diets