American Heart Association: “Diets Don’t Work.” Diane Kress: “Here’s Why.”



Popular commercial diets can help you lose some weight in the short term, but keeping the weight off after the first year and the diet’s impact on heart health are unclear, according to a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

Nearly 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese – and therefore at higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Whether a diet will be effective is an important public health question.

“Despite their popularity and important contributions to the multi-million dollar weight loss industry, we still do not know if these diets are effective to help people lose weight and decrease their risk factors for heart disease,” said Mark J. Eisenberg, M.D., M.P.H., the study’s senior author and Professor of Medicine at Jewish General Hospital/McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. “With such a small number of trials looking at each diet and their somewhat conflicting results, there is only modest evidence that using these diets is beneficial in the long-term.”

After analyzing clinical trials on four popular diet plans — Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, and Zone — that promote weight loss and improved cardiovascular health, researchers found:

  • In trials comparing Weight Watchers to usual care, Weight Watchers dieters lost an average 7.7 to 13.2 pounds after one year compared to 1.8 to 11.9 pounds with usual care, however at 2 years, the weight lost was partially regained. Usual care refers to traditional methods to promote weight loss such as low-fat diets, behavioral weight loss intervention, nutritional counseling, or self-help materials.
  • Results from trials on the Atkins diet were inconsistent. In the only trial comparing the South Beach diet to usual care, no difference in weight loss occurred in 12 months, however the participants in this study were both severely obese and had undergone gastric bypass surgery.
  • Trials involving head-to-head comparisons between Atkins, Weight Watchers, Zone and usual care suggest that all four result in a modest weight loss at one year, as did those in the control group who received the usual care. Those on the Atkins diet lost an average 4.6 to 10.3 pounds; Weight Watchers participants lost an average 6.6 pounds; Zone dieters lost an average 3.5 to 7 pounds; and control lost about 4.85 pounds.
  • In studies involving head-to-head comparisons, there were no marked differences between Atkins, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets at improving cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, or other cardiovascular risk factors.

The longest diet studies researchers analyzed lasted for two years, and results were only available for the Atkins or Weight Watchers diets. Those studies found dieters regained some of their weight over time.

To better understand the potential benefits from any one or all of these diets, researchers need to conduct large clinical trials directly comparing all four popular diets for long-term weight loss and changes in other heart disease risk factors, he said.

“A broader lifestyle intervention, which also involves doctors and other health professionals, may be more effective,” Eisenberg said. “This also tells doctors that popular diets on their own may not be the solution to help their patients lose weight.”

One Response to Most popular branded diets do not work: American Heart Association
 Diane Kress says:
  1. The Metabolism Miracle and The Diabetes Miracle were both researched, devised, and published for this exact reason.  Before the publication of a metabolic approach to weight loss and improved health, NO weight reduction diet  worked for over 60% of the overweight population.

    To add to the dilemma…popular and very well promoted diet regimens can actually cause increased weight gain and gradual increases in blood pressure, lipids (LDL and triglycerides), blood pressure, fasting insulin, CRP, hemoglobin A1C, and decreased Vitamin D and HDL cholesterol.

    I developed Metabolism Miracle and Diabetes Miracle as I recognized that something was wrong with the way we were addressing weight loss. I am an RD (registered dietitian) , a CDE (certified diabetes educator), and a person with type 2 diabetes. I have over 33 years experience specializing in weight loss, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.  I was willing to admit that the calorie based, low fat diets simply did not work and the low carb diets were also missing the mark.

    The problems with these programs are many- fold. Mainly, most programs are based on decreasing calorie intake without regard to the macro-nutrient composition of the diet.  For example:  Weight Watchers is based on calories in – calories out. The Weight Watcher calories are converted to “points” that can be spent anywhere in the day. This  concept of “you have x number of points to use per day to lose weight can  never work for over 60% of overweight or obese people who have impaired insulin.

    The problem with low carb diets like Atkins or South Beach: They both begin witha very low carb Phase.  Unfortunately,  when carbohydrate grams are increased, there is no rhyme or reason and everyone regains in the Steps that follow the very low carb Phase in both diets .

    The Zone is a “balanced approach to dieting” but there is no “rest” period to slow down the overactive pancreas and liver that over produce insulin and over release glycogen in over 60% of the population.

    The truth is…millions of people, the majority of overweight people,  have the genetic predisposition for insulin imbalance. This hormonal imbalance is progressive;  getting worse as time passes and lifes’ stressors pile up. Stressors include: high carb intake, low physical activity,  periods of emotional stress, pain, illness, and even certain medications.

    If 60% of the population has an insulin issue (this is what accounts for overweight, obesity, high blood lipids, hypertension, cancers, heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc)…an effective diet protocol MUST address this insulin issue.  Insulin is a fat gain hormone…excess amounts cause increased fat on the body and in the blood. If it’s not corrected, there will still be increased fat stores around the middle and lining blood vessels.

    3 Steps are needed:

    1.  8 weeks or more of a very low carb diet to rest and rehab the pancreas and liver
    2.  8 or more weeks for reintroduction of a specific amount of low glycemic index carb grams at specific time intervals
    3. Finally, when desired weight is reached, labs are normal, and medications are at the lowest possible dose, a truly balanced diet with about 33% of carb, protein, fat.

    The Metabolism Miracle and Diabetes Miracle work. Everytime. For every patient with metabolic syndrome, pre diabetes, type 2 diabetes…over 60% of overweight or obese people.

    Attention Researchers, ADA, AMA, AHA, AND:  If there is going to be a large scale study….PLEASE include The Metabolism Miracle.


About Diane Kress

Author of The New York Times Bestseller; The Metabolism Miracle, The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook, and The Diabetes Miracle. and The Metabolism Miracle, Revised Edition. Owner, developer, and administrator of The Metabolism Miracle's support site: Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Email:
This entry was posted in ADA, AMA, Atkins diet, Diane Kress, Diet, excess insulin, LADA, low carb, low carbohydrate, Met B, Metabolic syndrome, Metabolism B,, monitoring blood glucose, obesity, overweight, PCOS, The Diabetes Miracle, The Metabolism Miracle, The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook, The Metabolism Miracle Update, type 1.5 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, weigh in and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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