Thursday, January 31, 2013

And this is a little disturbing

Considering how much weight-loss advice is out there, and has been out there, the fact that "researchers" are "debunking" several weight-loss "myths" is no big surprise. Nothing new. Weight-loss advice is tossed about like a Frisbee in spring. We try it, it works or it doesn't, we try something else. Eventually we find (or, sometimes, we don't) a manageable plan that fits with our lifestyle and helps us achieve our goals.

I'm still looking. Heh.

I don't watch the news, but my husband mentioned that NBC has been airing some little weight-loss tidbits this week. So I went looking for some snippets and here's one I found, from the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine.

The problem with articles like this is that they tell you what doesn't work, without suggesting what does. This one is different. Dr. David Allison of the University of Alabama at Birmingham led the study and concluded:
So what does work? Drugs do, to an extent, says Allison, a biostatician. “For people who are very obese, pharmaceuticals work a little bit,” he said. So does surgery to make the stomach smaller. The companies that make the devices used for the surgery, and the surgical centers, are doing the randomized, controlled clinical trials that can prove whether something works, Allison says. “Clearly, these are things we should be investing in,” he said.
I'm no weight-loss expert (I would call myself knowledgeable, having been studying and practicing for 50 years now), but any journal article that suggests we need to be "investing" in drugs and surgical techniques smacks of some kind of self-serving agenda.

I will certainly acknowledge that bariatric surgery can make a miraculous difference in the lives of the severely obese. I'm not so sure about drugs. Weight-loss pills are constantly tested, some are approved and are then summarily withdrawn due to side effects like, oh, heart damage or death.

There was no real advice dispensed in the journal article. It was simply a study saying that while such-and-such has been touted as a way to drop pounds, it's never been proven. UAB-Birmingham has vowed to do a clinical trial on the breakfast myth. Does eating breakfast help you lose weight? Does skipping it make you fatter? Or does it make a difference at all?

For what it's worth, my husband rarely eats breakfast. And has a BMI of 23.6. I rarely skip breakfast and my BMI is mumble-mumble-mumble. So there's that. HOWEVER, skipping breakfast is not an option for me. I've adopted the idea that, while I may lose weight more slowly or not at all, I'm a nicer person if my blood sugar levels stay somewhat steady throughout the day.

It's not all about the pounds. For me, anyway, it has to be about something I can manage.


Diandra said...

When comparing all studies done, it seems that most approaches to weight loss work - as long as you eat less calories than you need. But no matter whether you do low-carb or low-protein or low-fat, all participants who stick to the rules seem to lose at similar speed. It seems as if in the end for healthy people it is pretty simple. Eat less, work out more. (But I know how that is not much fun and pretty frustrating at times.)

Debbi McNeer said...

Also, suggesting the eat-less/move-more approach isn't especially profitable for companies who make drugs or surgical supplies. Just sayin'.