Why Diets Don't Work

Stop dieting and start eating regularly!

  • Restricting food sends a signal to the body that there is a food shortage.  The body thinks its own survival is threatened.  It responds by slowing down its metabolic rate (i.e. the rate at which the body uses energy).  This slows body fat loss down so that it becomes harder to lose weight.
  • When you diet, the body responds by conserving fat.  The weight that is lost is mainly water and muscle.  Reduced muscle further slows down the body's metabolism.  Rapid weight loss usually means 50% of fluid loss (rapidly regained), 25% muscle tissue and 25% fat.
  • Research has shown that people find it more and more difficult to lose weight after repeated dieting, and they more rapidly gain weight.  95% of dieters regain the weight after the diet is over, and often regain more. 
  • The weight fluctuations (up and down) associated with repeating dieting increase the risk of coronary heart disease.  It is healthier to stabilise at a heavier weight than to repeatedly lose and gain weight.
  • To diet one has to ignore the normal signals for hunger and fullness.  Hence, it is easy to overeat and not when the body needs refuelling.
  • Dieting deprives the body of essential nutrients and energy and the body responds by wanting to binge.
  • Strict avoidance of particular foods can cause cravings for those foods.
  • Diet can disrupt a normal and healthy social life.
  • The repeated failure of dieting can cause people to blame themselves.  This increases emotional stress and poor self-esteem.
  • Dieting can set up negative feelings towards food, e.g. guilt about eating, and punishment for after eating.
  • Continued dieting can lead to extreme hunger, irritability, depression, anxiety, fatigue and poor sleep patterns.