If you've ever tried to drop a couple pounds, you've probably spent some hard-earned cash on diet books or special snacks or online subscriptions. While you don't need anything but wholesome foods and exercise to maintain a healthy weight, you're not the only one who'd pay to slim down: Designer diets like Weight Watchers and Atkins and Jenny Craig and other weight loss products raked in upwards of $60.5 billion dollars in 2013, according to a Marketdata Enterprises Inc. report.
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To find out whether any of the most well-known diets actually work, researchers reviewed 48 clinical weight loss studies that compared weight loss among nearly 7, 300 obese and overweight dieters on 11 popular brand-name diets, according to a study recently published in JAMA.
Not surprisingly, those who followed any diet plan for a year lost more weight than non-dieters in the control groups. While weight loss didn't differ much among individual brand-name diets, plans categorized as low-fat (i.e., Ornish) or low-carb (i.e., Atkins and Zone) helped people drop the most weight after one year.
Because the differences in weight loss from various name-brand diets was pretty negligible, the bottom line is that the most effective diet is the one you're going to stick to. (That means no low-carb diets for bread-lovers.) And because big-name diets provide structure, guidance, and support by way of weekly weigh-ins or require food journals to promote accountability and avoid unhealthy habits, they're actually a pretty solid option.