London: Want to stay slim? Don`t embark on a long-term diet regime, instead go on a crash dieting, for a new study says that the best way to shed flab and keep off the pounds is to do it quickly.
Researchers have found that the key to achieving and maintaining a slim figure is to shed the weight rapidly, a finding that contradicts previous advice which suggested a slow but steady weight loss was preferable, British tabloid
the `Daily Express` reported.
The new study found that the greater the initial weight loss in obese patients, the larger the total loss in the longer term. It showed that dieters who lose up to one pound a week are up to five times more likely to keep the weight at bay than those who shed only half a pound a week.
In the latest research, a team from the University of Florida analysed the cases of 262 overweight women who had followed a six-month programme encouraging them to cut their calorie intake and increase physical activity.
They split the women into three groups according to how much weight they lost in the first month of the trial.
Women in the fast weight-loss group shed almost 1dlb per week, those in the moderate weight-loss group lost between half a pound and 1dlb a week and those in the slow weight-loss group lost less than half a pound per week.
The researchers then looked at the women?s weight loss after six months and 18 months, as well as any weight regain.
They found there were long-term advantages to fast initial loss of weight. The fast group lost more weightoverall maintained their weight loss for longer and were less likely to put the pounds back on than the more gradual weight losers.
In particular, women in the rapid weight-loss group were five times more likely to achieve the clinically significant 10 per cent weight loss at 18 months than those in
the slow group.
Those in the moderate weight-loss group were nearly three times more likely to achieve this milestone than women in the slow group, the findings, published in the `Journal of Behavioural Medicine` revealed.
The study concluded: "Losing weight at a fast initial rate leads to greater short-term weight reductions, does not result in increased susceptibility to weight regain, and is associated with larger weight losses and overall long-term success in weight management.
"We suggest that, within lifestyle weight control programmes, substantial efforts should be focused on promoting large rather than small behavioural changes during the initial weeks."