Choosing Your Diet Plan May Lead to Less Weight Loss

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Those assigned a food plan lost slightly more weight.
Those assigned a food plan lost slightly more weight.

(HealthDay News) -- Choosing a weight-loss plan based on food preferences might backfire and lead to less weight loss, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers theorized that by allowing some people to choose a diet that included foods they liked, they would stick with it and lose more weight than those who were assigned to their diets. The team randomly assigned 207 people to 1 of the 2 groups. Participants in the choice group were allowed the option to switch diets after 12 weeks if they were unsatisfied with their initial decision. The study lasted 48 weeks, during which time both groups received group and telephone counseling.

After comparing the 2 groups, the researchers found that those who had a choice lost slightly less weight than those who had no choice. After 48 weeks, the choice group lost an average of 12.6 pounds, while the other group lost an average of 14.8 pounds.

"[The difference in weight loss] was not statistically significant," noted study author William Yancy Jr., M.D., a research associate in the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care at Duke University in Durham, N.C. "The weight loss was similar between the two groups. It's just that the direction of effect was not even in the expected direction," he told HealthDay.


  1. Yancy Jr., WS, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(12):805-814; doi:10.7326/M14-2358.
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