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Breaks in the diet may actually be beneficial to weight loss process

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Posted January 21, 2016

Losing weight is difficult yet, for some, necessary process. Sticking to diet and exercising plans requires tremendous power of will and sometimes people slip and eat desert or something not exactly helping to lose weight. Now, however, there are good news from the science world – researchers from the University of Sydney and Garvan Institute of Medical Research say that taking a break from the diet may actually help in the quest to lose weight.

Losing weight is not an easy task. However, now scientists say that even short breaks in the diet may be helpful as long as you continue eating healthy. Image credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay, CC0

Losing weight is not an easy task. However, now scientists say that even short breaks in the diet may be helpful as long as you continue eating healthy. Image credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay, CC0

Scientists performed experiments with mice models and found that taking a break from the diet may actually improve the efficiency of weight loss (the amount of weight lost for every kilojoule restricted). In other words, if a person takes a short break from dieting and eats something more, later he may see that he loses more weight putting the same amount of efforts. Although scientists only researched mice, they are confident that the same principles would apply to humans as well, but further research will be done to confirm this.

Associate Professor Amanda Salis, lead author of the study, said: “As anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can attest, sticking to a long-term, kilojoule-restricted diet – which is required to achieve lasting, clinically significant weight loss – is notoriously difficult. We are hopeful that this research could lead to improved and more sustainable weight loss strategies”.

Research was conducted with obese mice on two different diets. One diet was a very strict one, providing 82% of normal kilojoule intake every day, while another included regular breaks. Scientists found that after 12 day diet there was no difference in terms of body weight, fat mass, circulating glucose or insulin concentrations, or the insulin resistance index. However, the weight loss efficiency was better in the case of diet with short breaks. Furthermore, these mice that were allowed to have short breaks were not holding back – they were consuming up to 70% more than usual. And at the end of diet they had the same results.

This research shows that so called “weight loss holiday” during the diet is not harmful for the cause, but actually rather helpful. However, scientists note that mice during their break from the diet were not eating junk food. Nutrition deficiencies are common among overweight and obesity. Their nutrition lacks calcium, iron, foliate, zinc and other micronutrients and such deficiency can be even worse during the diet. Weight loss holiday is an opportunity to fill body with needed to reduce nutritional deficiencies.

Finally, scientists say that “all of nothing” approach is wrong during the weight loss diet. Breaks are not bad and it is important to get all nutrients needed. However, it is also important to eat healthy regardless if one is trying to lose weight.

Source: sydney.edu.au

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