The New York Times reports:
The study randomly assigned 5,145 overweight or obese people with Type 2 diabetes to either a rigorous diet and exercise regimen or to sessions in which they got general health information. The diet involved 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day for those weighing less than 250 pounds and 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day for those weighing more. The exercise program was at least 175 minutes a week of moderate exercise.
But 11 years after the study began, researchers concluded it was futile to continue — the two groups had nearly identical rates of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths.[...]
The study participants assigned to the intensive exercise and diet program did lose about 5 percent of their weight and managed to keep it off during the study.
I’m impressed they did an 11-year study; it’s rare to see any weight-loss based study continue beyond six months, frankly, which is to say that most weight-loss studies are completely useless.
The next thing that occurred to me is that five percent weight loss isn’t really what the diet and exercise advocates promise, is it? Paul Campos had the same thought:
Note that, perhaps out of necessity, the study defined “significant long-term weight loss” quite modestly, since on average this intensive lifestyle intervention produced a little less than a 5 percent reduction in body mass (i.e., a 160-pound “overweight” woman in the program weighed, on average, 152 pounds after four years of participation). In other words, what the study proved yet again is that lifestyle interventions don’t produce much, if anything, in the way of long-term weight loss.
My third fault is wondering what this means to me, as a person with type two diabetes? I’m on the medication, and don’t find it unpleasant (I just seem to be a lucky person who doesn’t get side effects from Metformin). I kind of like exercise; even if it doesn’t make me live longer, it’s somewhat enjoyable and makes me feel better, and may offer benefits as I get older like extending my mobility. But is trying to watch what I eat worthwhile at all? Because I gotta tell you, it’s not fun.