A new study indicates that when it comes to weight loss, nothing beats the tried and true formula of good old-fashioned exercise and eating fewer fatty foods.
After analyzing data from more than 4,000 obese individuals, researchers from Harvard found that those who exercised and avoided fatty foods were significantly more likely to lose weight compared to those who tried liquid diets, nonprescription weight loss pills, and diet products.
The research results appeared in the April 10 online issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Subjects from the study were over the age of 20, and had a body mass index of 30 or more a year before the interview.
The finding shouldn’t come as a surprise, but may dampen hopes among the millions of Americans holding out for a quick fix or miracle pill to help them lose the weight painlessly.
More than half of the group said they tried to lose weight. Of that group, 40 percent said they experienced a weight loss of five percent or more, while another 20 percent lost 10 percent or more.
Meanwhile, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic, cutting calories through smart dietary changes is more effective at promoting weight loss than physical activity alone. While the ideal weight loss strategy would be to do both, the key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume.
For example, because 3,500 calories equals about one pound or half a kilogram of fat, Dr. Donald Hensrud points out that cutting 500 calories from your diet each day would result in the loss of one pound a week.