One of the ways health experts claim many people could improve their health is to go on a diet to lose weight. It seems like a no-brainer, since being overweight or obese is linked to many health problems including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer.
But dieting may not be so good for you after all, say Australian researchers. And that's because many people who diet to lose weight end up putting all their weight back on afterwards. In other words, the problem isn't with losing weight as such, rather that the common approach most diets use doesn't stop people from regaining weight after they've reached their target.
Writing in the International Journal of Obesity, the researchers from the University of Queensland devised computer simulations that showed how people gain weight back after losing it through dieting.
The problem, they say, is that diets may change the way you eat for a limited amount of time, but they do nothing to change the environment in which you live, and their effects are - at best - only temporary.
So where the obesity epidemic is concerned, experts really should put their thinking caps back on to come up with other interventions that might be more permanent, say the study's authors.
The researchers have some ideas of their own that they think would help, including long-term counselling to help dieters maintain their new weight, as well as better food nutrition labelling and also a junk food tax.
Do you think increasing tax on high-sugar and high-fat foods would help fight the flab?