Australian researchers randomly assigned 200 obese people to one of two groups. The first followed a severely calorie-restricted diet for 12 weeks, the second a moderately restricted diet over 36 weeks. The study is online in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
The researchers then placed all those who lost at least 12.5 per cent of their weight 51 of the gradual weight losers and 76 of the rapid losers on a weight maintenance diet. After three years on the maintenance diet, there was no significant difference in the amounts of weight regained: 71.2 per cent was regained on average by the gradual losers, versus 70.5 per cent by the rapid losers.