Researchers working on a study comparing approaches to weight loss, found that keeping a food diary can double weight loss as part of a managed programme; they said that the more food records they kept, the more weight the participants lost.

The study was carried out by investigators from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, and is to be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study is one of the largest and longest running weight loss maintenance trials ever conducted, wrote the researchers in a press statement, and is also unique in that a large number of participants (44 per cent) were African Americans who are known to have higher risks for diseases that are made worse by being overweight, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Those who kept regular and frequent food records tended to lose more weight, said lead author Dr Jack Hollis, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, adding that:

“Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”

The trial, known as the Weight Loss Maintenance (WLM) trial, was a a randomized trial conducted at four centers to compare different approaches to maintaining weight loss over a period of 30 months. The August paper describes the results from Phase I, the first 6 months of the trial.

1,685 overweight or obese (Body Mass Index or BMI in range 25 to 45 kg/m2) participants aged 25 and over and who were taking blood pressure and/or antidyslipidemia medication (eg chloesterol busters) took part in 20 weekly group sessions to encourage them to restrict their calorie intake, take part in daily moderate to intense physical exercise for half an hour a day, and modify their diet according to the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) guidelines. The participants were also encouraged to keep daily records of their calorie intake.

Courtesy of medicalnewstoday