Dieters who lose weight quickly just as likely to keep the weight off

Dieters who lose weight quickly are just as likely to keep the pounds off once they have reached their target weight as those who lose weight more slowly, according to the results of an Australian study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology (online, 16 October 2014)[1]

The research throws on its head the accepted view that a person should lose weight slowly if he or she wants to retain their weight loss in the long run.

Two hundred obese adults were split into two groups by the researchers with the aim of achieving a weight loss of 15%.

One group followed a 12-week rapid-loss programme on a daily 450kcal to 800kcal diet. The other group was put on a 36-week gradual weight-loss programme and reduced their daily calorie intake by 500kcal.

Researchers found that 81% of people on the rapid-loss programme lost 12.5% of their body weight compared with 50% in the gradual weight loss group.

Participants who lost more than 12.5% of their body weight were then put on a weight maintenance diet for three years. At the end of this period, 71% of participants regained the weight they had originally lost — regardless of the programme they had followed at the outset, the researchers found. 



[1] Purcell K, Sumithran P, Prendergast LA et al. The effect of rate of weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. Available at: (accessed 16 October 2014).

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 25 October 2014, Vol 293, No 7833;293(7833):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20066847

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