Do Diets Actually Work? – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every year, a top New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Any at given time, an estimated 45 million Americans say they are on a diet.

But do diets actually work? WCCO spoke with Dr. Iesha Galloway-Gilliam, who runs Hennepin Healthcare’s Comprehensive Weight Management Center.

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“And the answer it not binary. They can,” Dr. Galloway-Gilliam said.

In the short-term, like six months, people do lose weight and lower their blood pressure. But it’s a different story in the long run.

“The sustainability is typically where the rubber meets the road,” she said.

One paper found that on average, people regained more than half their lost weight within two years, and regained 80% within five.

“It’s physiologic. It’s not because there’s some lack of will power,” Dr. Galloway-Gilliam said. “And part of what will happen is that hunger hormones increase.”

(credit: CBS)

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At the same time, metabolism — or the calories a person burns at rest — drops.

“That can make it really difficult to sustain some of these dietary patterns,” she said.

If you are trying to lose weight, what works?

“Really trying to minimize ultra-refined, processed foods,” she said.

Dr. Galloway-Gilliam points to four categories: nutrition, exercise, restorative sleep and managing stress.

“What I tell many patients when they come in is ‘We’re friends for life now,’” Dr. Galloway-Gilliam said.

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She says it’s important to choose an individualized plan that’s sustainable for you, and to have a strong support network.

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