"Diets Don't Work." Wait! What?!

Book Discussion

In their book Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy" Food Make Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever, authors William D. Lassek, M.D. and Steven J. C. Gaulin have a chapter titled "Why Dieting Doesn't Work." By the time I time I got to that chapter I had already realized I had misclassified this book as a "diet book" based on the cover. (I know, I know. We're not supposed to do that but admit it, you do it too.) Then the authors went even further -- they claimed that dieting can even cause us to gain more weight.

Many studies have looked at the effect that dieting has on women's weights over time. They start by asking a group of women how often they have dieted in the past to lose weight and then they checked back after a year or more to see how their weights have changed. All of these studies have found that the women who have dieted the most in the past gain more weight over time than the women who have dieted less. p. 115

I'm not a stranger to the term "yo-yo dieting." I've seen friends and family diet and lose weight, and then stop dieting and gain it back. I get the concept. I never really considered that they might be gaining back more weight than before they started the diet. While praising someone for their weight loss is a socially accepted practice, commenting on their subsequent weight gain is just not done.

yo-yo

Credit: Joe Strupek on Flickr

If diets don't work, why is it that I see diet advertising everywhere? If people keep buying into the idea of dieting, and the diet products, how can they not work? To read claims that dieting not only doesn't work but that the more we diet the more weight we gain... I feel like Laurence Fishburne just gave me a red pill and I've entered the Matrix. It's almost too much to take in and I find myself not completely able to believe it.

What do you think of the claims that dieting doesn't just not work, it causes us to gain weight? And if the claims are true, why do we keep spending so much money on dieting products?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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