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Competing dietary claims for weight loss: finding the forest through truculent trees.

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  • 1Yale Prevention Research Center, Derby, Connecticut 06418, USA.


In response to an accelerating obesity pandemic, competing weight-loss diets have propagated; those touting carbohydrate restriction are currently most in vogue. Evidence that sustainable weight loss is enhanced by means other than caloric restriction, however, is lacking. Whereas short-term weight loss is consistently achieved by any dietary approach to the restriction of choice and thereby calories, lasting weight control is not. Competing dietary claims imply that fundamental knowledge of dietary pattern and human health is lacking; an extensive literature belies this notion. The same dietary and lifestyle pattern conducive to health promotion is consistently associated with weight control. A bird's eye view of the literature on diet and weight reveals a forest otherwise difficult to discern through the trees. Competing diet claims are diverting attention and resources from what is actually and urgently needed: a dedicated and concerted effort to make the basic dietary pattern known to support both health and weight control more accessible to all.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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