Consumer Reports reveals successful diet tips
YONKERS, New York (CNN) -- The best diet may be no diet at all, according to a new survey by Consumer Reports magazine.
The study of more than 32,000 dieters found that an overwhelming majority of "successful losers" took a do-it-yourself approach and credited exercise -- not food deprivation -- as their top strategy.
"Our report overturns the long-held conviction that to lose weight, you have to enroll in an expensive program, buy special food, or follow the regimen of a particular diet guru," said Consumer Reports senior editor Nancy Metcalf.
In fact, very few of those who lost weight and kept it off had tried commercial diet plans, meal replacement bars and shakes, or dietary supplements.
Consumer Reports found that nearly a quarter of those questioned had success with their diets, including 8,000 "successful losers" who lost at least 10 percent of their starting weight and kept it off for a year, and 4,000 "superlosers" who maintained their weight loss for five years or more.
"One of our most important findings is that diets that work need to match an individual's personal needs and preferences," said lead researcher Donato Vaccaro. "In fact 83 percent of the 'superlosers' said they lost weight entirely on their own."
Only 14 percent of "superlosers" had ever signed up with Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or another commercial diet program, according to results of the survey. A mere 6 percent in that category used dietary supplements or another non-prescription weight loss aid, such as Metabolife or Dexatrim.
The vast majority -- 88 percent -- stayed away from Slim Fast and other meal replacements.
Consumer Reports found one strategy common to nearly all the success stories: exercise.
Those who exercised at least three times a week ranked it as the number one factor in their weight loss success. Many others credited increasing the physical activity in their daily routines -- taking the stairs rather than the elevator, for example. Lifting weights was also popular among successful dieters.
Based on its survey, Consumer Reports recommends keeping several things in mind when deciding what to eat:
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