Evidence that dieting causes BINGE EATING & INCREASE IN APPETITE
Evidence that dieting causes WEIGHT GAIN
Evidence that DIETING DOESN'T WORK (see below)
Photo credit Helga Weber
“The turning of foods, once relished, into foods that are bad or off limits, the avoidance of particular foods, the disapproval towards oneself for hankering after goodies, would, if it were a response to any other daily biological calling, be regarded as deeply worrisome. But when it comes to mad schemes involving food, no-one bats an eyelid.”
“The diet industry is the most successful failed business in the world”
"We're all guilty of it - rewarding children with ice cream when they finish their greens or offering sweets when they are hurt. But this sends a dangerously mixed message about food and eating."
Dieting sounds sensible - it’s a way of looking after our health, right? We have all come to believe it and the government encourages us to watch our weight and our food intake and exercise and eat well.
However, diets don’t work in the long-term. 95% of people who lose weight on diets put that weight back on, and more, within five years. Diet clubs such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World position themselves as a ‘lifestyle’, advocating a ‘balanced diet’. But, they are a business – part of the weight loss industry that, according to Market Research News in 2010, is expected to be worth $586.3m in 2014 – and they need to make a profit. They rely on people failing on diets and returning again and again. If diets worked, you’d only need to do them once.
Dieting teaches us nothing about appetite, about what our body needs, about how to satisfy hunger, about what foods work for us. Not only that, it makes us miserable, negatively impacts our self-esteem, and sets us up for a life-time of yo-yo dieting, which is so harmful to our mental and physical health.
Listening to your hunger and feeding it with the foods that you really like and really paying attention to every mouthful while you are eating, gives the most reliable guide to stopping eating when you are full. This intuitive eating - eating the foods you enjoy only when you are hungry (and only those) and stopping when you are full - will rebalance your metabolism and make your body work efficiently.
We want to highlight the role of the diet industry in de-stabilising appetites and desires. We believe that troubled eating and the so-called ‘obesity epidemic’ are merely more visible extremes of a much bigger, everyday phenomena: that we are accepting fear and hatred of our own bodies as natural, that we are accepting ‘I am not good enough’ as a fact.
We need to get back in touch with our appetites, enjoy our bodies and ditch dieting.
DIETING DOESN’T WORK
University of California researcher Traci Mann and her co-authors conducted the most comprehensive and rigorous analysis of diet studies, analysing 31 long-term studies.
"You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back," said Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study. "We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people."
One study of dieting obese patients followed them for varying lengths of time. Among those who were followed for fewer than two years, 23 percent gained back more weight than they had lost, while of those who were followed for at least two years, 83 percent gained back more weight than they had lost. One study found that 50 percent of dieters weighed more than 11 pounds over their starting weight five years after the diet.