London: Forget long-term diets -- the best way to lose weight and keep off the pounds is to do it quickly, scientists have found.
New research shows the key to achieving and maintaining a slim figure is to shed the weight rapidly, at a rate of one pound a week, reports express.com.
The findings, however, contradict previous advice which suggested a slow but steady weight loss is the best way for a healthy weight-loss regime.
The new study has found that the greater the initial weight loss in obese patients, the larger the total loss in the longer term.
However, nutrition experts still argue over whether fast or slow initial weight loss is the best approach for long-term weight control.
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 one pound per week, those in the moderate weight-loss group lost nearly half a pound in a week and those in the slow weight-loss group lost less than half a pound per week.
The authors 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 weight overall, maintained their weight loss for longer and were less likely to put the weight back on than the more gradual weight losers.
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, the report said.