Keeping a regular eating schedule – and not crash dieting – is the best way to fight weight gain, researchers in Finland said.
Pound-shedding diets don’t work and actually lead to more weight as people get older, according to University of Helsinki findings.
“Regular eating and having no history of dieting were associated with successful weight maintenance in young women and men,” researchers said.
The findings by Ulla Kärkkäinen, a nutritional therapist at the school, and Anna Keski-Rahkonen, a professor who teaches public health, were published in the journal Eating Behaviors. They monitored the weight of 4,900 Fins – all young adults between 24 and 34.
“Often, people try to prevent and manage excess weight and obesity by dieting and skipping meals. In the long term, such approaches seem to actually accelerate getting fatter, rather than prevent it,” said Kärkkäinen.
While steady exercise and healthy eating habits are important, even more crucial is avoiding diets that’ll always come back to bite you in the end, researchers said.
“Generally speaking, weight management guidance often boils down to eating less and exercising more,” Kärkkäinen said.
“In practice, people are encouraged to lose weight, whereas the results of our extensive population study indicate that losing weight is not an effective weight management method in the long run.”