Key to Weight Loss Is Diet Quality, Not Quantity

BY Courtney Huckabay
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A new study, published in JAMA, found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods — without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes — lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.

"The strategy worked for people whether they followed diets that were mostly low in fat or mostly low in carbohydrates," wrote in The New York Times. And their success did not appear to be influenced by their genetics or their insulin-​response to carbohydrates, a finding that casts doubt on the increasingly popular idea that different diets should be recommended to people based on their DNA makeup or on their tolerance for carbs or fat."

Diet counselors could try showcasing their plans that focus more on whole eating and whole lifestyle changes to encourage new clients to come in. The newest AudienceSCAN survey reported 6% of Americans plan to pay for diet/​weight loss counseling services this year.

"The research lends strong support to the notion that diet quality, not quantity, is what helps people lose and manage their weight most easily in the long run. It also suggests that health authorities should shift away from telling the public to obsess over calories and instead encourage Americans to avoid processed foods that are made with refined starches and added sugar, like bagels, white bread, refined flour and sugary snacks and beverages, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University."

Reaching out to Diet/​Weight Loss Counseling Shoppers about these findings could persuade consumers to change their lives. The latest AudienceSCAN survey showed 18% of Diet Counseling Shoppers think magazines are the best sources for health information, and 17% think TV is, so counselors can start adverting there.

"The new study stands apart from many previous weight-​loss trials because it did not set extremely restrictive carbohydrate, fat or caloric limits on people and emphasized that they focus on eating whole or “real” foods — as much as they needed to avoid feeling hungry."

The most recent AudienceSCAN survey revealed sponsored search as a great way to reach shoppers. 45% of Weight Loss Counseling Shoppers took action based upon sponsored search results in the past month.

"The new study found that after one year of focusing on food quality, not calories, the two groups lost substantial amounts of weight. On average, the members of the low-​carb group lost just over 13 pounds, while those in the low-​fat group lost about 11.7 pounds. Both groups also saw improvements in other health markers, like reductions in their waist sizes, body fat, and blood sugar and blood pressure levels."

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