Choosing Your Own Diet Makes it Harder to Stick With, Study Says
It would seem rational that allowing patients to pick a diet based on their preferences might encourage them to stick with it.
But the results of a new study suggest this isn't the case - and that patients may not lose weight when they're given the option to pick the diet of their choice.
Adherence to a dietary program is the best predictor of weight loss, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University explained. Accordingly, the team hypothesized that giving patients the option to choose a diet would deliver better outcomes than a physician-prescribed eating plan.
Difficulty in portion control
A total of 207 participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups for the study: one group was allowed to choose between a low-carbohydrate or a low-fat diet, while the other group was randomly assigned a diet.
Both groups were given phone counseling sessions during the 48-week trial, and participants were given the option to switch diets at 12 weeks.
Results showed that patients in the "choosing" group lost less weight, reported poorer dietary adherence and had a more compromised quality of life related to their weight than the patients in the other group.
"These results suggest that choosing a diet based on food preferences may make it difficult for dieters to scale down on the amount that they eat," a press release on the study stated.
Factors like a patient's metabolic profile or genetic characteristics may be better indicators of how to match patients with the right diet, the researchers concluded.
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