A new study suggests the key to long-term weight loss may not be a diet of rice cakes and celery sticks. Add a little peanut butter to these foods, however, and you may have found a recipe for success.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., compared the success rates of overweight people who followed a traditional low-fat diet with those who consumed a moderate-fat diet, which included healthy fats such as olive and canola oils, peanut butter and nuts. Both groups lost about the same amount of weight during the first six months of the diet, but the similarities ended there. After 12 months, those who followed the moderate-fat diet had lost an average of 9 pounds, while the low-fat dieters weighed 6 pounds more than they had at the onset of the study.
Researchers believe that the added dietary fat may make it easier to stick to a diet over the long-term. After 18 months, 54 percent of the moderate-fat dieters were still following the program, but 80 percent of the low-fat dieters had dropped out. The moderate-fat dieters were rewarded for their perseverance. According to the report published in the October issue of the International Journal of Obesity, “Reductions in percentage body fat, body mass index (a ratio of a person’s height and weight) and waist circumference were all greater in the moderate-fat group.”
Why did the moderate-fat diet work? Quite simply, food tastes better when it includes a little fat, researchers believe. “Our results support the use of a diet moderate in fat for weight loss in obese persons, as an alternative to a standard low-fat diet to produce and maintain long-term weight loss because of increased palatability of the foods.”
Source: International Journal of Obesity,2001; 25, 1503-1511