So, you know those magic weight loss supplements are bogus. Right? What if we told you that the more legit sounding programs—think Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Atkins—also don't boast magic results? I know, I know; your mind is, just, blown right now.
According to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, there's little proof that consumers can lose and keep off weight following one of these diet programs. Of the 32 major programs, 11 have been tested in this manner. And of those 11, just Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Atkins showed evidence of participants keeping off weight for at least one year.
When compared to wellness counseling with a dietician, Weight Watchers participants experienced a 2.6% greater weight loss after one year. Jenny Craig fared a bit better at 4.9% greater loss. Atkins, however, was iffy: Participants did experience greater weight loss than getting counseled by a nutritionist, but success ranged from .1% - 2.9%. (Curious, we reached out to a nutritionist who gave us the skinny on why it varied so greatly: Wheat makes your body retain water, so eliminating it makes you lose water weight quickly. But, then, it's just that—water weight—which accounts for the discrepancy.)
Hate to be the pessimists here but that 4.9% figure is paltry. We're wondering if the results would perhaps be more uplifting if the researchers followed people for three or five years instead of just one. Perhaps that first year is the rockiest? For us, all this proves is the age-old, face-palming reality that trying to lose weight is the pits.
But hey, at least it's hard for everyone? Just a little masochistic-schadenfreude mash-up.