People that are allowed to select a diet that they like lose less weight and do not stick with the diet as instructed. These are the findings of a 48-week study conducted by Dr. William Yancy with the American College of Physicians.
The study involved a group of 207 people that were overweight. Participants were randomly allowed to select a diet plan of their liking or were assigned a diet program arbitrarily. The diets for both groups were either a low-carbohydrate diet without calorie restriction or a low-fat diet combined with calorie restriction.
The group that was allowed to select a diet of their liking showed lower levels of adherence to the diet and a lower reduction in weight than the group that was assigned a diet. The group that was allowed to select a diet was given the option to change diets based on poor results after 48 weeks but only a five of these participants changed to a more restrictive diet in an effort to lose weight.
The researchers call the results counterintuitive but have developed an explanation for the results. Diets that allow people to select food that they enjoy have less success than diets that restrict the types of food a person can eat. The tendency in the majority of people involved in a diet program that allows them to eat food they like is to overindulge. Restrictive diets produce better weight loss results.