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Dieting


Dieting is the practice of eating food in a regulated and supervised fashion to decrease, maintain, or increase body weight. In other words, it is conscious control or restriction of the diet. A restricted diet is often used by those who are overweight or obese, sometimes in combination with physical exercise, to reduce body weight. Some people follow a diet to gain weight (usually in the form of muscle). Diets can also be used to maintain a stable body weight and improve health. In particular, diets can be designed to prevent or treat diabetes.

Diets to promote weight loss can be categorized as: low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, very low calorie and more recently flexible dieting. A meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials found no difference between low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, and low-fat diets, with a 2–4 kilogram weight loss over 12–18 months in all studies. At two years, all calorie-reduced diet types cause equal weight loss irrespective of the macronutrients emphasized. In general, the most effective diet is any which reduces calorie consumption.

A study published in American Psychologist found that short-term dieting involving "severe restriction of calorie intake" does not lead to "sustained improvements in weight and health for the majority of individuals". Other studies have found that the average individual maintains some weight loss after dieting. Weight loss by dieting, while of benefit to those classified as unhealthy, may slightly increase the mortality rate for individuals who are otherwise healthy.

The first popular diet was "Banting", named after William Banting. In his 1863 pamphlet, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, he outlined the details of a particular low-carbohydrate, low-calorie diet that had led to his own dramatic weight loss.

One of the first dietitians was the English doctor George Cheyne. He himself was tremendously overweight and would constantly eat large quantities of rich food and drink. He began a meatless diet, taking only milk and vegetables, and soon regained his health. He began publicly recommending his diet for everyone suffering from obesity. In 1724, he wrote An Essay of Health and Long Life, in which he advises exercise and fresh air and avoiding luxury foods.



In young adults "Reducing glycemic [carbohydrate] load may be especially important to achieve weight loss among individuals with high insulin secretion." This is consistent with prior studies of diabetic patients in which low carbohydrate diets were more beneficial.
  • no reduction in cardiovascular disease
  • no statistically significant reduction in invasive breast cancer
  • no reductions in colorectal cancer
  • A comparison of Atkins, Zone diet, Ornish diet, and LEARN diet in premenopausal women found the greatest benefit from the Atkins diet.
  • The choice of diet for a specific person may be influenced by measuring the individual's insulin secretion:
  • Diet 1 and 2 were high carbohydrate (55% of total energy intake)
    • Diet 1 was high-glycemic index
    • Diet 2 was low-glycemic index
  • Diet 3 and 4 were high protein (25% of total energy intake)
    • Diet 3 was high-glycemic index
    • Diet 4 was low-glycemic index
  • Diet 1 was high-glycemic index
  • Diet 2 was low-glycemic index
  • Diet 3 was high-glycemic index
  • Diet 4 was low-glycemic index
  • American Dietetic Association (2003). "Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets". J Am Diet Assoc. 103: 748–765. doi:10.1053/jada.2003.50142. PMID 12778049. 
  • Cheraskin Emmanuel (1993). "The Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Ritual". Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 8 (1). 
  • Dansinger, M.L., Gleason, J. L., Griffith, J.L., et al., "One Year Effectiveness of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets in Decreasing Body Weight and Heart Disease Risk", Presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Orlando, Florida, 12 November 2003.
  • Schwartz, Hillel. Never Satisfied: A Cultural History of Diets, Fantasies, and Fat. New York: Free Press/Macmillan, 1986.
  • Wansink, B. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, New York: Bantam Dell (2006).
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