Generic recommendations and blanket statements

To optimize program effectiveness, a variety of factors should be considered (activity, genotype, primary goals, metabolic abnormalities, past experience with dieting, various responses to meal frequency, psychological issues, convenience issues, food availability, and support systems). Often, this isn’t the case and weight management programs are too generic.

Common examples of a generic program include assuming that specific recommendations are applicable to everyone (even under conditions of high activity, sickness, low carb diets, metabolic disorders, or very low calorie consumption) and that there are set calorie levels for everyone who weighs the same (doesn’t seem to matter that one performs hard physical labor and exercises on a daily basis while the other performs minimal daily activity), which is common practice among most popular programs.

Relying on pseudo science for scientific information

Reliable scientific information is derived from primary scientific research (original measurements and recording performed by those conducting the research in the field or a lab). When analyzing primary scientific research data, it’s important to consider research design, how the results were extrapolated, who conducted the research, and if there was any vested interest in the design or outcome (i.e. what do they have to gain or lose). Secondary research examines and analyzes primary research. Depending on the skill and biases of the reporter, secondary research can be good or bad.

When considering the advice given by a nutritionist, it’s important to know if the advice is derived from current, primary scientific data or is based on other sources (secondary, tertiary, testimonials, and case studies). In most cases, the advice given isn’t derived directly from primary research. People, who often promote themselves as scientists, don’t actually examine the primary research data. Of course, that doesn’t mean their advice is wrong. It just means they really don’t know if it’s wrong or right.

Considering only weight loss as a measurement of success

Weight loss comes in various forms (including fat, body proteins, water, toxins, glycogen, and mineral storage). Body composition can be important for health, performance, and physique.  Measurements in addition to weight loss are important.

Weight management groups who push and insist on their own food and/or supplements

Supplements can offer a positive role in weight management, but they aren’t magic and they aren’t supreme to efficient nutrition via food. (There isn’t any evidence to indicate the supremacy of supplements over whole food.) The word “supplement” means to supplement the program, not replace exercise and nutrients from food.

I’m not anti-supplement, but I am anti-nonsense. Sometimes supplements are beneficial because they can be more convenient and cheaper than food and they can help in acquiring

efficient nutrition. If you need supplements to get the job done, go for it. However, pre-packaged foods and massive quantities of supplements aren’t necessities for weight loss.

A company that requires you to buy their supplements or food isn’t interested in optimizing weight management and nutrition status. However, they are interested in fooling you into believing that their products have some magic properties.

Requirements for quality diets

Many different types of diets lead to weight loss, physique enhancement, and healthier bodies. In other words, many roads lead to the same place. If you can’t stick to the diet, it won’t be successful. The psychological aspect of dieting is often overlooked, but it’s important in determining success. Pick a diet that you can stick with. If you hate all the foods included in the diet and you’re really dreading beginning the diet, you should probably choose a different one. In my opinion, all diets should meet certain requirements to ensure quality.

The key factors in designing quality diets are:

•         Calorie intake (matters whether you’re consciously counting or not)

•         Consumption of sufficient quantity of essential nutrients

•         Consideration of individual likes and dislikes

•         Consideration of metabolic abnormalities

•         Occasional breaks from the diet

•         Recognizing that you don’t have to stick to the program 100 percent of the time to see the benefits