With 2022 on the horizon, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to exercise regularly and lose weight. If you are looking to lose weight in 2022, you may have heard about a few popular trends. What do you need to know about losing weight in 2022, and what might be effective for you?

Options for Diets

Many different dietary fads and products are constantly being promoted.  You should avoid the majority of these, as they are rarely effective.  Be particularly wary if a given product or diet claims to produce large amounts of weight loss in a short period of time.  Likewise, you should also be skeptical of any products that claim to adjust your metabolism or “melt away fat.”  

To date, the only known, effective weight loss options are a few prescription medications and a few diets, which all produce a negative calorie balance, meaning using more calories than you consume.  This balance is based on the laws of physics and cannot be altered by any product.

To this end, a few diets and medications have been shown to be effective at producing moderate weight loss.  A major study on this topic confirmed their effectiveness, and as expected, all of them reduced calorie intake overall by either eliminating certain types of food, reducing the overall amount of food, or wasting calories using certain medications. You have surely heard of some of these. A few examples include:

  • Intermittent Fasting: Fasting during the daytime, but eating what you prefer for dinner is effective at producing moderate results.  This leads to an overall reduction in calorie intake which leads to weight loss.  Furthermore, frequent fasting has demonstrated cardiovascular benefits, as well.
  • The Keto Diet: The keto diet involves removing carbohydrates (sugar, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.) from your diet.  Doing so causes the body to replace the energy by burning fats and producing “ketone bodies,” thus the name of the diet.  This diet works both by reducing caloric intake, as it is hard to replace all of the carbohydrates in your diet with equal amounts of calories from other food, and because some of the ketone bodies get wasted in the urine – essentially urinating out calories.

Unfortunately, to get the full benefit of this diet, a person must actually enter a ketotic state which requires the complete omission of all dietary carbohydrates, which is very difficult to do.

  • The Paleo Diet: There are several variations of this diet, but mostly, it is similar to the Keto Diet, but without completely eliminating carbohydrates and entering a ketotic state.  It is based on the belief that we should eat the way our Paleolithic ancestors ate, with the presumption that such a diet is healthier for humans.  

And, while it produces moderate weight loss, there has been little evidence to substantiate the claim that it is healthier than other diets.  There are many reasons why this is hard to study, but it also ignores that modern humans live at least twice as long, on average, as our Paleolithic ancestors, so there is no reason to assume that their diets were somehow healthier.

Medical Weight Loss Programs

There are now a couple of prescription-only medications that produce moderate weight loss, as well.  These include appetite suppressants and a new class of medications that cause loss of sugars into the urine. This is another reason to discuss your weight loss plan with your doctor before starting, as they can often provide tips and sometimes medications to help along the way.

Unfortunately, keeping the weight off is an even bigger challenge, as following these diets indefinitely is very hard to do and could even be harmful to your long-term health.  So for this reason, it is important to discuss your plans with your doctor before starting any new diet.

Sadly, for many people, no diet is effective enough to keep their weight in a healthy range.  In fact, once a person has become morbidly obese, they have around a 5% chance of ever achieving an ideal body weight for a significant period of time on their own.  For these patients, weight loss surgery may be the only treatment that is likely to produce adequate results.  

Importantly, this treatment is not reserved only for older adults.  Given the damage that morbid obesity does to people, surgeons are recommending surgery for younger people, when it is apparent that dieting and lifestyle changes will be futile before permanent damage has occurred.  Obviously, this is a complicated decision and should be discussed with your doctor.

A Reminder from CapRock Health

If you want to lose weight, it is important to do so safely. Remember to consult with your personal medical professional to discuss and plan your weight loss efforts.