Is Fast or Slow Weight Loss Better?


If you go by the way the most recent study looking at this question is being discussed, you’d think hands down that quick weight loss is the way to go.

Study: Fast vs Gradual Weight Loss

fast or slow weight lossIn Phase 1, ‘Fast’ Group Lost More Weight

The study divided 200 participants into two groups: fast weight loss and gradual weight loss. It found in Phase 1 of the study that more in the fast weight loss group lost 12.5% of their body weight in the allotted time (81% vs 50%).

But hold on a minute…

In Phase 2, Both Groups Regained All The Lost Weight

Yet….read the headline in Forbes

“Another Diet Myth Exploded:
Gradual Weight Loss No Better Than Rapid Weight Loss”.

Wouldn’t you think it would be more accurate to say:

“Another Diet Myth Exploded: Diets REALLY Don’t Work!”?

Short-Term Results May Lead To Long-Term Health Consequences

I don’t have access to the complete study, but the quotes in the Forbes post disturb me:

“They cite a number of potential short-term advantages of very low calorie diets and note that these diets are now well formulated and provide adequate protein and essential micronutrients. They are “safe if used under expert supervision.”

Short-term advantages? I would love to know what those are if people just end up regaining weight they work so hard to lose. And the yo-yo diet cycle is associated with chronic inflammation, NOT a good thing for our health.

“...our results show that achieving a weight loss target of 12.5% is more likely, and drop-out is lower, if losing weight is done quickly.”

Yeah, but if they just go on to gain it all back, no matter whether you lose it slowly or quickly, you end up in the same place.

For Long-Term Weight Management, Focus On Health

I have a hard time with the logic here. But in this day where people walk around with weight bias blinders on, and think that weight loss at any cost is worth it, I’m not surprised.

That’s not to say that weight loss is impossible. It’s the result of intentionally trying to lose weight that this study describes.

When it occurs as a side effect — weight loss that happens because it’s right for your body as it gets healthy through living well and not dieting, obsessing about food or your body, or resolving one of the other many factors that may negatively affect our health — then it’s more likely to stay gone.

I’m going for a walk now. Reading this study leaves me in need of some serious stress management.

Learn About Our Non-Diet Program For Healthy Weight Management

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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