Obesity Facts, Fads, and Fantasies
Diet crazes reflect an epidemic of obesity. Anxiety arising from the threat of obesity is compounded by the public being inundated with the claims of persons who are knowledgeable about nutrition and those who are not. Nutritional faddism remains one of America’s favorite indoor sports. Few will argue that dietary goals are needed — e.g. reduction in meal size, and such items as sugar, saturated fat, cholesterol, and meat. Increasing daily exercise as a substitute for eating is also required. Despite the massive industry the probability of success is very limited. Weight loss clubs can claim a short term mean 20 pound weight loss in 1/3 serious participants. Anorectic drugs can produce a 10 pound weight loss, but this is almost approached by the substitution of a placebo. Behaviour modification mean weight loss is also 10 pounds, but it is sustained for prolonged periods (>26 weeks).