2008-07-09 06:06:25 GMT 2008-07-09 14:06:25 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhuaent) -- Dieters who write down what they eat every day can shed twice as much weight as those who don't, said a new study in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Almost 1,700 men and women who were either overweight or obese were involved in a 20-week study, one of the largest weight-loss studies ever conducted in U.S.
They were told to consume about 500 fewer calories a day, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, do about 180 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, and record daily food intake and their exercise minutes.
After 20 weeks, those who wrote a diary of what they ate seven days a week dropped an average of almost 18 pounds (some 8 kg) over the course of the experiment.
By contrast, those who kept no detailed record of their eating habits had an average weight loss of almost 9 pounds (some 4 kg).
What's the magic of a food diary? "It makes you accountable to yourself," and "It is a "powerful self-management technique," said study co-author Dr. Victor J. Stevens, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, in Portland, Ore.
"Writing down your intake yields clues about where the extra calories are coming from," Stevens explained.
These findings provide additional evidence that the standard behavioral strategies are key for successful weight loss, Stevens added.