Most Weight Loss Programs Don’t Work, Hopkins Study Says

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There are a whole lot of companies out there that are happy to provide proprietary diet guidelines in exchanged for your hard-earned money. How to choose between them? Recent research out of Johns Hopkins, which compared 32 different weight-loss programs, might help.

These weight-loss plans often tout hard-to-believe results. Hopkins researchers wanted to take a closer look at those claims, so they reviewed 4,200 studies featuring 32 major commercial weight-loss plans. Not surprisingly, most of those programs relied on “research” that didn’t make the grade–in other words, it wasn’t based on randomized clinical trials. The Hopkins group reviewed those plans that were backed by solid research to see if they met an even more stringent standard: Did legit research show that participants lost more weight after one year on the program than they did relying on other diet options?

Only two weight-loss programs met that criteria: Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. A handful of other programs, including the Atkins diet, showed “promising” results as well. Even in the programs that worked, however, weight loss was “modest.”

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