Diet Alone Will Not Likely Lead To Significant Weight Loss

There should be an image here!Newly-published research by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University demonstrates that simply reducing caloric intake is not enough to promote significant weight loss. This appears to be due to a natural compensatory mechanism that reduces a person’s physical activity in response to a reduction in calories. The research is published in the American Journal of Physiology — Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

“In the midst of America’s obesity epidemic, physicians frequently advise their patients to reduce the number of calories they are consuming on a daily basis. This research shows that simply dieting will not likely cause substantial weight loss. Instead, diet and exercise must be combined to achieve this goal,” explained Judy Cameron Ph.D., a senior scientist at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center, and a professor of behavioral neuroscience and obstetrics & gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine, as well as a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.

To conduct the research, Cameron and OHSU post-doctoral fellow Elinor Sullivan, Ph.D., studied 18 female rhesus macaque monkeys at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. The monkeys were placed on a high-fat diet for several years. They were then returned to a lower-fat diet (standard monkey food) with a 30 percent reduction in calories. For a one-month period, the monkeys’ weight and activity levels were closely tracked. Activity was tracked through the use of an activity monitor worn on a collar.

“Surprisingly, there was no significant weight loss at the end of the month,” explained Sullivan. “However, there was a significant change in the activity levels for these monkeys. Naturally occurring levels of physical activity for the animals began to diminish soon after the reduced-calorie diet began. When caloric intake was further reduced in a second month, physical activity in the monkeys diminished even further.”

A comparison group of three monkeys was fed a normal monkey diet and was trained to exercise for one hour daily on a treadmill. This comparison group did lose weight.

“This study demonstrates that there is a natural body mechanism which conserves energy in response to a reduction in calories. Food is not always plentiful for humans and animals and the body seems to have developed a strategy for responding to these fluctuations,” added Cameron. “These findings will assist medical professionals in advising their patients. It may also impact the development of community interventions to battle the childhood obesity epidemic and lead to programs that emphasize both diet and exercise.”

Jim Newman@ Oregon Health and Science University

[Photo above by Marc / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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  • Jan

    I lost 50 significant weight loss pounds without an ounce of physical activity. That’s significant weight loss. The studies are not always correct. Remember the egg and cholesterol?

  • Seth David

    I think it will be awesome when a competing service emerges. I will switch the minute it does, even if it costs more than Netflix. Netflix in my experience has demonstrated awful customer service. On their streaming I have experienced a lot of downtime where I go to watch a video and I cannot access the streaming service. What’s worse is they don’t acknowledge it anywhere on the web so I am left wondering if it is my connection or is it Netflix? I don’t mind the downtime because I know these things happen, but at least let me know about it so I don’t have to waste any time and I can either pop in a DVD or watch regular TV.

  • Tony Muckleroy

    Really $2 less a month? I wonder what it costs for them to ship a DVD. Sounds like to me you are just being directed to the service that makes them the most money through saving money not having to ship DVDs. I wouldn’t be surprised that once the multitude has switched to streaming only that they will raise the rate and really show a nice profit. Servers need fewer people to run them than stuffing envelopes.

    I can justify spending money for high speed Internet, but not DVD service. I’m not a Netflix subscriber nor can I see I ever will be. I don’t like a monthly fee. Pay per use would be appealing to me.

  • Stephaine Hand Murray

    i started streaming exclusively a few months back. If they raise the price on streaming then i’ll just stay with amazon prime instant video and it comes with free 2 day shipping on any amazon site order and if i want to rent a movie i have that option

  • Brian Ward

    I think we will see more of this price tiering from Netflix, for example charging a premium for new releases.

  • Salvador Medina

    so you’re complaining about a $6.00 raise and that you could obviously afford. Think about what can a child in Africa do with that kind of money!

  • Dave Seavey

    It makes sense that they would want to get people to do streaming only by charging even more for the DVD option. The postage alone has to be killing them. Streaming is way cheaper than mailing a disc. I can totally see them increasing the DVD option even more or just going all streaming in the future.

  • Jay Lose

    I also switched to streaming only last month. A lot of the DVD’s I received didn’t work sometimes anyway. I also switched my programing on Dish. I use to get everything they offered except for the sports channals, now I get just the basic for $39.95 instead of almost $160.

  • Anonymous

    What are you griping about? I wondered how Netflix could afford to provide streaming service and DVD’s thru the mail for only $2 more a month. The postage has to be killing any profit they could make. I’ve been subscribed to Netflix streaming for 7 months and thoroughly enjoy it. You can’t beat it for $8 a month. No, they don’t have all of the latest releases on there but I’ve discovered many very good movies that I have never seen before. So, when Dish doesn’t have anything good on that I want to watch, I switch to Netflix streaming. I’ve had a few problems but not very many. I like documentaries and believe me, they’ve got a great selection. If you don’t think paying $6 more a month for those DVDs is worth it, then don’t buy the service. Have you looked at what HBO, Cinemax, Showtime or Starz are charging monthly for movies they show over and over again?

  • Tai

    I rarely watched movies streaming before and will certainly not almost double the price of my plan to do it now. I dropped the streaming option and am sticking with just the DVD plan, which actually lowers my current monthly price. Not worth paying $16 a month for both. In my case, if they are trying to get people to keep the streaming, they are forcing us to opt out.

  • CL Rose

    I will be cutting my plan from having two DVD’s to one DVD. I still like Netflix, but feel it is unfair to have to pay more since, as you point out, they have not made all releases available on streaming. This would be different if there wasn’t already a compromise made. To make matters worse it wasn’t that long ago when they already raised the price by $1.