Want To Lose Thanksgiving-Added Weight? Forget Diets, Say French

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Already mulling over a post-Thanksgiving diet to get your weight back down this holiday season?  You may want to think again.

According to a French study unveiled Thursday, most popular diets not only don’t work, but may even be bad for your health.

(See the top 10 new diet books.)

French media such as Le Monde served up Thanksgiving-sized coverage of the test conducted by France’s national agency on food safety of 15 popular diets–including Atkins, Fricker, Mayo, Montignac Cohen, Dukan, Mayo, and even one based on eating cabbage soup. It found 95% of them inefficient in producing long-term weight loss, and said most (80%) provoked serious nutrient and vitamin imbalance posing health concerns—including increased risk of cancer and heart disease. About the only diet that cleared specialists’ scrutiny was Weight Watchers, which was considered more balanced than specialized alternatives.

But authors aren’t even giving that one an unqualified thumbs-up. People who embark on unsupervised diets of all kinds, they say, eventually wind up not just putting pounds lost back on over time, but take on more weight with each successive dieting attempt (not at all the kind of “gain” people want from their privation “pain”.) Rather than popular specialized approaches attempted alone, the study advises people to consult doctors and nutritionists to see if they need to lose weight, and determine with them what the healthiest, safest diets are for their biological profile. As part of that, they add, any diet should also involve psychological treatment, since shedding weight and keeping it off is more about behavior modification than it is padlocking the fridge.

(See what people eat around the world.)

In other words, among the first moves toward shedding any Thanksgiving dinner rolls that may show up Friday may be a call to the shrink.