Crash dieters are being warned that such extreme measures simply do not work in the long run. Picture: Pexels
Dropping a dress size after enduring a week of misery on a juice diet may seem worth it.

But crash dieters are being warned that such extreme measures simply do not work in the long run.

A study of 183 dieters shows it is better to adopt a “tortoise-like” strategy than to be like the hare and try to slim down too fast.

After two years, those content to patiently shed a pound a week were found to have lost significantly more weight than yo-yo dieters.

The study’s lead researcher Dr Emily Feig, from Drexel University in Philadelphia, said: “It seems developing stable, repeatable behaviours related to food intake and weight loss early on in a weight control programme is really important for maintaining changes over the long term.” In the study, obese and overweight people were enrolled into a year-long weight loss programme using meal replacements and were told to cut their calories, exercise and eat more healthily.

Some lost a consistent amount in regular weigh-ins over the first six to 12 weeks, while others fluctuated.

The yo-yo dieters may have seen more exciting and dramatic results early on, but after a year they had lost less weight than those who were consistent. The difference was seen particularly in men.

The study found that dieting too strictly, in people with an “all-or-nothing” approach to eating, often leads them to lose their willpower and regain weight. It adds: “Strict restraint has been associated with poorer long-term weight control.”

The study, published in the journal Obesity, supports other research that a large majority of people who lose 5 to 10% of their body weight typically regain it. - Daily Mail