Science Compared 4 Popular Diets to See Which One Worked the Best – Here Are the Results (As Well as Why Most Diets Fail)
One of the most common emails I consistently get having answered 10,000+ emails is this:
“It seems like there’s a new diet every week… and honestly I’m not even sure who to trust anymore. I don’t even really know what works at this point.”
It’s not really surprising that most of us have NO CLUE who to trust in the health space – a new diet every month, a new guru every month, a new M.D. that mysteriously shows up promoting his new “12 week shred” garbage.
And what’s the truth?
In this article I’m going to share with you a pretty cool study done on four of the most popular diets, as well as the one principle that predicts your success more than anything.
Out of Four of The Most Popular Diets, Which One Worked Best?
So…Does The Diet Really Matter At All?
Dietary adherence, how easy people could stick with the diet they were on.
A study done in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association wanted to test the adherence rates and effectiveness of four popular diets: Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers, and Ornish – for weight loss & heart disease risk factor reduction.
The Atkins diet is carb reduction.
The Zone diet is macronutrient balance.
Weight watchers is calorie restriction.
And the Ornish diet is fat restriction.
After one year, weight loss was pretty similar across the groups:
Atkins – 3.9
Zone – 4.9
Weight Watchers – 4.6
Ornish – 6.6
So let’s start with the obvious:
To me, a variation of 3-4 pounds over a year is negligible. That’s not impressive at all.
Think of it like this: you’re investing a YEAR of your life, you lose 2.7 more pounds?
The average person can’t even really see 2.7 pounds, and especially for an entire year’s work, this isn’t really impressive. So for the sake of argument, let’s say these diets has pretty similar results over the course of a year: around five pounds lost.
But here’s the most important thing I want to draw your attention to, the only real predictor of success:
The researchers concluded:
“Each popular diet modestly reduced body weight and several cardiac risk factors at 1 year. Overall dietary adherence rates were low, although increased adherence was associated with greater weight loss and cardiac risk factor reductions for each diet group.”
The Most Important Thing
Adherence, more than anything else, matters even more than THE DIET ITSELF matters!
Now you know why in every article I talk about habits – because it’s the only thing that can save us. Short term AND long term.
The only thing.
This is the same reason why new year’s plans fail – they’re new plans. They aren’t habits. They’re game plans rather than habit and behavioral change plans.
So we do the same thing over and over, without ever changing who we are as individuals.
We take on new plans, without even taking on new strategies for implementing those plans.
If you haven’t made the shift already, focus on habits, and then success will naturally come over time.
The Solution – And Your Tiny Habit For Today
The takeaway here today is simple: it’s a fundamental mindset shift.
Stop asking this question, “is this the right plan for me to try now?”
Start thinking about, “Okay, what SYSTEMS can I set up in my life to make this happen?”
The plan to do the plan is more important than the plan itself.
So what kind of tiny habits can we implement on a daily basis to make sure we follow through?