Meta-analysis of 48 randomised control trials showed weight loss differences across branded diets were scientifically significant, but still minimal.
“Industry needs to focus on intervention to improve adherence to dietary programmes. If for the most part these diets are equal how do we induce long-term lifestyle changes in individuals that are overweight and obese?” said Dr Bradley Johnston, a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children's Research Institute.
The research aimed to gather and analyse all available data so that individuals looking for a diet could make an informed decision. The diets analysed included Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, Zone, Rosemary Conley, Slimming World, Jenny Craig and South Beach.
“People want to know of all of the available branded diets which one may be superior. What typically happens is the public is exposed to results from a single study or an expert or celebrity endorsements. This can be very misleading,” Johnston told Food Navigator.
“Dietary programmes that result in the most weight loss typically have an exercise component and support component,” said Johnston.
“You need to make smart food choices and the rule of thumb is that 80% of our food choices should be healthy food choices and 20% of the time we can fall off the bandwagon and have our treats,” he added.
The research concentrated on weight loss and Johnston said further research should be conducted to examine other health issues such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol which could vary between the branded diets.