If you spend an hour online, I bet you could easily find over 100 diets that all claim results. The crazy part is, they wouldn't all be wrong or lying to you. People can results from a number of different diets. In fact, most diets actually work, for a time.
So what is the key factor in predicting the success of a person following a diet, as measured by weight loss?
A new study by researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of South Carolina suggests that measuring dietary intake is the number one predictor of success.
After six months of measuring dietary intake, the most successful participants in the study spent an average of 14.6 minutes per day monitoring and logging their food.
In the words of Peter Drucker, "What gets measured gets managed."
Most people think this activity is restrictive and time-consuming, but with modern technology, this couldn't be further from the truth.
The main take away from the study is that brief but frequent monitoring is the best way to go.
"Those who self-monitored three or more time per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful" -Dr. Jean Harvey
There are so many applications available for smartphones these days. most of them free, that make this type of monitoring incredibly simple. In fact, the marketplace is so vast, it deserves it's own article, which we will publish soon.
One issue to take with this study: The participants monitored calories and fat, not protein or carbohydrate intake. I also cannot find anywhere in the study that addressed nutrient timing.
These are key considerations for athletic performance, but might not be as important for general weight loss in a deconditioned or poorly conditioned cohort.