I recently completed a 12-week "biggest loser league" sponsored by local health promotion organizations. There were two "teams" although we really were not pitted against each other in any way.
I'd been eating lowfat vegan for almost 9 months when I saw the ad for the "league", stating that one of the teams was going to follow a "plant based diet". I jumped at the chance to find fellow plant eaters and signed up.
Each team met on a different night of the week, so the two teams had virtually no interaction with each other. "Team 1" followed a conventional "portion control, moderation" kind of diet, with exercise. "Team 2," of which I was a member, followed a low-fat, plant-based diet (reducing meat, dairy, & fats to the minimum was emphasized), with NO portion control, weighing, measuring, etc. Team 2 had the same exercise opportunities as Team 1.
Last night we finished the program and got our results. The two teams were not compared to each other as part of the project, so I quietly asked the sponsor at our last session how our team compared to the "conventional" team. I seriously doubt the newspaper article will mention this, so I wanted to report on it here.
First, a caveat: this is, technically speaking, "hearsay." [EDIT 8/13/09: SEE "HERE IS THE STORY" POSTED BELOW ON 8/13 FOR LINK TO THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE]. I asked the sponsor last night about team stats, and he reported to me what he could recall. So, what he recalled could be in accurate but the differences are so wide that even a minor inaccuracy would be irrelevant, in my opinion.
Team 1 (conventional "portion control, everything in moderation" approach):
#Particpants - about 10. Two that I heard of had significant health issues (one knee injury, one hip injury) during the project.
Average lbs lost - about 9.
Average change in Total Cholesterol (nonfasting) - None.
Team 2 (low-fat, plant-based approach):
# Participants - about 20. Two that I know of dropped out & one became pregnant about 1/2 way through the project.
Average lbs lost - about 18.
Average change in Total Cholesterol (nonfasting) - about 30 pts.
The "biggest loser" (accumulated most points for combined exercise & wt loss) lost over 30 lbs and reduced her cholesterol 87 pts in just 12 weeks.
Since I'm chronic dieter who's finally discovered peace with a low-fat, plant-based diet, I get really frustrated at seeing other obese people get the "same old advice" on losing weight. I hope our papers report the differences between the two teams' outcomes and if they do, I'll post a link here!
Last edited by talkingmountain
on Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.