If long term dieting isn’t working for you, how does the idea of calorie counting for just two days a week sound? Researchers at Genesis Prevention Centre, University Hospital South Manchester, found that
following strict calorie-controlled regime for two days a week helps dieters lose more weight than those following a daily dieting regime.
The study, funded by the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Appeal and led by research dietician Dr Michelle Harvie, involved monitoring 115 women with an increased risk of breast cancer for a period of four months.
The women were randomly assigned one of three diets:
1. A low-carbohydrate, 650 calorie-restricted diet for two days a week;
2. A low-carbohydrate diet with no calorie restrictions for two days a week;
3. A standard 1,500 calorie-a-day Mediterranean diet.
The women on diets 1 and 2 could eat as they liked for the other five days, including unlimited protein and healthy fats. The third group on the Mediterranean diet avoided high fat foods and alcohol while following the diet every day.
After four months, Dr Harvie and her fellow colleagues compared the results of the three diets. They found that those following the low carbohydrate diets, 1 and 2, lost the most weight with an average nine pounds. This applied to those on the 650 calorie diet and the second diet with no calorie restrictions. Those on the 1,500 calorie-a-day Mediterranean diet lost five pounds on average.
Dr Harvie said “It is interesting that the diet that only restricts carbohydrates but allows protein and fats is as effective as the calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet.”
They also found the Mediterranean diet had a higher drop-out rate, with the two day a week diet having the lowest drop-out rate. This could indicate that following a two day a week diet is easier than following a regular diet every day.