Conclusion Based on Scientific Research

     A poll was conducted in Sweden in 1985, which showed two-thirds of those questioned between the ages 19-39 felt they were overweight.  Of those two-thirds, 16% reported always being on a diet and 15% reported going on a diet at least monthly.  At that point in time 46% of women and 27% of men were currently trying to lose weight.  The study also showed that 45% of college women were periodic dieters, and due to the pressure they were under to look thin many of them will resort to mild cases of anorexia or bulimia.  The study hinges on the idea that, “Many individuals undergo multiple weight losses and gains in pursuit of their ideal body weights.”
    This article discussed the popularity of fad diets and their safety.  Of the dieters questioned over 20%  resorted to fad diets.  These fad diets are often found nutritionally inadequate, they often cut calories to insignificant numbers and lack the nutrients the body needs such as thiamin, Vitamins B6, B12, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium.  They are also often very high in salt and fiber.  Other than these fad diets many dieters will resort to the use of meal replacement shakes, fasting, or over the counter appetite suppressants.  The major criticism of these diets by health care professionals is they don’t change the faulty eating habits and the lost weight is typically regained soon.
     Two techniques used by health care professionals in cases of extreme obesity were fasting and very low calorie diets.  These techniques have both been criticized for their lack of nutritional value.  Fasting is an aggressive method used to eliminate a great amount of weight very quickly.  The mean weight loss was 15.7 kg in only 76 days, and there were even greater losses in shorter periods.  A fasting diet simply depletes the body of water and sodium.  This method only works for short amounts of  time and should only be used under the guidance of a health professional.  In a very low calorie diet the number of intake calories is cut to a drastically low amount, exactly as the name states.  This causes the person to lose a substantial amount of weight in a short amount of time.  These methods are being questioned by the health care world because of their lack of nutritional value and their lack of change in the behavior.
    The main concern with the fad diets previously mentioned in this study is they never seem to reap permanent results.  The tendency to regain the weight is increased because the novelty of the special diets usually wear off.  When health professionals prescribe one of these diets to a patient the one-year follow-ups often have good results, but by the third year the patient often shows considerable relapses. .  The study concluded that there is always a great chance of the patient regaining the weight if there is no behavior modification program used in conjunction.

 

 

Psychology Department

The Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD.
  


Vanderbilt Homepage | Introduction to Vanderbilt | Admissions | Colleges & Schools | Research Centers | News & Media Information | People at Vanderbilt | Libraries | Administrative Departments | Medical 

  Return to the Health Psychology Home Page
  Send E-mail comments or questions to Dr. Schlundt

Search

Search: Vanderbilt University
the Internet

  Help  Advanced

Tip: You can refine your last query by searching only the results by clicking on the tab above the search box

Having Trouble Reading this Page?  Download Microsoft Internet Explorer.