Sick and tired of hearing the same old weight loss advice, "Eat less, move more," but not seeing results? A new study has revealed that this approach might not be as effective as you thought. So get ready to dive into the science of weight loss and discover the most effective methods to help you reach your fitness goals!
The yearly physical is a necessary evil for some and a breeze for others. But for the 42% of adults classified as "obese" by BMI standards, it can be a real source of discomfort. Sure, there are doctors out there who approach their patients with understanding and evidence-based advice.
However, a study published on December 13, 2022, in Family Practice found that this isn't always the case. According to the study, doctors often give patients abstract and vague weight-loss advice instead of actionable and beneficial, and it’s not always supported by science.
With this in mind, keep reading to learn what researchers say about common weight-loss advice and what they recommend for doctors and patients alike.
The Surprising Findings of this Weight-Loss Study
A group of experts at the University of Oxford in England studied 159 recordings of conversations between doctors and their patients who were considered "obese" by their BMI.
They found that only 20% of the doctors advised on how to actually lose weight, with the other 80% giving advice that wasn't very helpful, like "change your lifestyle a bit."
Some of the common advice given but not backed by science include:
- Eat less, move more.
- Be careful what you eat.
- Reduce your carbs.
- Just take the stairs.
- Use an app to track your calories (calories in, calories out approach.)
- Get as much exercise as your joints will allow.
- Make your own gluten-free flour that’s supposed to be free of sugar (which is not true at all, as gluten is a protein.)
According to the researchers, the doctors mostly didn't give good advice, and even if the patients followed it, they probably wouldn't lose weight.
They wrote in the journal that the "eat less, move more" advice was the most common one that doctors gave when they didn't have any other ideas.
Why Most Doctors in This Study Fail to Give the Right Weigh-Loss Advice
It makes sense why doctors might struggle to give specific, helpful advice. Medical schools don't teach much about nutrition and exercise, and doctors are often too busy to really get to know their patients' lives and habits.
Additionally, with the research on weight loss constantly changing and new trends popping up, it can be hard for them to keep up with the latest best practices.
That's why it's crucial for doctors to work with experts in these fields, like dietitians and physical therapists, and also for them to have clear guidelines on how to talk to patients about weight loss without making them feel judged or bad about themselves.
According to Madeleine Tremblett, Ph.D. lead author of the study and a qualitative researcher at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford in England, "Doctors need clear guidelines on how to talk opportunistically to patients living with obesity about weight loss. This can help them to avoid amplifying stigmatizing stereotypes and give effective help to patients who want to lose weight."
What the Researchers Recommend for Effective Weight Loss
So, if “eat less, move more” doesn’t work for weight loss, what actually does?
According to the researchers, obesity is caused by multiple factors, and restrictive diets alone are not effective. They recommend a more personalized approach that includes:
- Consultation with a registered dietitian for personalized nutrition advice.
- Tailored lifestyle changes such as physical activity advice.
- Behavioral modifications to manage stress and improve sleep habits.
- Helping to overcome systemic barriers like food insecurity.
While this study serves as a wake-up call for the healthcare industry to step up its game and provide more informed and helpful advice for weight loss, you should keep in mind that it’s only a glimpse into a few medical practices in one country at a specific point in time.
Many healthcare professionals are providing personalized referral services to nutrition, exercise, and community advocacy experts and are committed to finding the best solutions for their patients.
But overall, it seems like It's time to move beyond the generic and ineffective advice and start providing personalized and science-based solutions that actually help people on their weight loss journey.
- Doctor Who Successfully Lost 100 Pounds Shares Her Top 4 Weight Loss Tips That Worked for Her
- How Many Steps a Day to Lose Weight? Studies Show You Don't Need to Run Marathons
Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.