Internet-Based Weight Loss Services: How Effective Are They?
The Appeal of Online Dieting
How Effective Are These Services?
Choosing an Online Weight Loss Service
- Make sure the program is designed and operated by qualified health professionals who have experience in weight loss counseling. Ideally, at least one should be a registered dietitian (RD).
Be wary of services that:
- Try to sell you anything else, such as special foods, vitamins, or supplements.
- Advertise quick weight loss. It should be a steady loss of no more than two pounds a week.
- Promote fad or very restrictive diets.
- Offer a one-size-fits all diet. Diets should be individually tailored based on parameters, such as weight, height, age, weight loss goals, activity level, and medical history.
- Make sure that the program offers a variety of diet plans to choose from, such as low-fat and vegetarian, as well as flexibility within the plans.
- The website should have a professional appearance, be easy to navigate, and offer an array of supporting tools, such as progress trackers, chat forums, and bulletin boards.
- Before making a final decision, talk to your doctor. Ask if you have any dietary restrictions due to your health. This is something that an Internet-based service will likely not be able to offer.
Is Online Dieting For You?
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org
American Obesity Association http://www.obesity.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Diets for weight loss. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 30, 2013. Accessed March 19, 2014.
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- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014 -
- Update Date: 03/19/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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