Are All Diets Alike?

The following article is excerpted from my latest book, Matt Hoover’s Guide to Life, Love, and Losing Weight by Matt Hoover (winner of “The Biggest Loser” Season 2) and Sheri Colberg, Ph.D.

Fact or Fiction?
“You can lose weight on any diet that is lower in calories.”

Fact. The most popular diets recently focus on low-carb eating. But are they the best when it comes to losing weight? When it comes right down to it, the reason most diets work is because they’re lower in calories. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a respected scientific journal, compared the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets to see if weight loss after 12 months in overweight and obese individuals—women in this case—differed.

It turned out that they lost significant amounts of weight on all four diets by the end of the study year, but losses were greatest on the low-carb Atkins diet (almost twice as much as the other three diets, on average). Other studies have also shown greater weight loss with low-carb dieting, but only for the first six months, with no differences thereafter. Others have questioned the healthiness of such a high-fat diet, though.

Regardless of which diet you choose to follow, keep in mind that if you’re eating fewer calories than your body needs, you will lose weight over the course of a year. As a general rule, you should be taking in at least 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day (probably the latter for most males) to make sure that your intake of nutrients is adequate and that you don’t lose too much muscle mass.

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