Explanations for the Success/Failure of Dieting

  • Created by: rhallett
  • Created on: 12-12-15 11:19
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  • Explanations for the Success/ Failure of Dieting
    • Body Weight 'Set Point'
      • According to set-point theory, there is a control system built into every person dictating how much fat he or she should carry.
        • If dieting causes fat levels to fall below the 'set-point' the body will try to restore them through:
      • 1) Increased feelings of hunger.
        • 2) Reducing its metabolic rate so it uses less energy.
          • 3) Altering levels of various chemicals which regulate food intake and fat storage such as lipoprotein lipase (LPL) makes the body better at storing fat
            • These effects will make dieting and weight loss difficult
          • These effects will make dieting and weight loss difficult
      • +Kern - studied 9 RPs who had lost on average 90 pounds, found that levels of LPL rose in RPs after weight loss, as if the body was trying to regain weight and get back to its set point
    • Biochemical Factors
      • Some evidence that biochemistry makes dieting and weight loss difficult for some people
      • LEPTIN- Hormone produced by fat cells which has an anorexigenic effect, reduces appetite and food intake
        • It is possible that some people who find it hard to diet or lose weight either don't produce enough or don'r respond to it; termed being "leptin resistant"
      • +Mice that have a genetic mutation (obese gene) means that they cannot make Leptin or respond to it and so become very obese, clearly showing their Leptin resistance could make dieting difficult
        • -However, it is unclear whether this finding can be extrapolated to humans as humans have a different biology, and their eating behaviour is more affected by social factors than in mice
      • +Farooqi describes the case of a child who was extremely obese, due to having a genetic mutation affecting Leptin
      • Evaluation: There is evidence that biological factors can make dieting difficult. However, focusing on biological factors alone is reductionist because it tries to reduce eating behaviour to one set of factors.
        • This is a problem because it ignores factors like the environment which must play a part as well. Eg many commentators argue that dieting is hard in the modern world because the environment is 'obesigenic' and full of high calorie cheap food
    • Overeating
      • Herman used the preload/taste test to study 45 female students divided into 3 groups
        • 15 RPs had no snack or 'preload'
          • 15 had a preload of 1 milkshake
            • 15 had a preload of 2 milkshakes
        • All 3 groups were then given 3 tubs of ice cream to taste and rate, how much they ate was measured, after they completed questionnaires which measured if they were dieting or not
          • Dieting RPs ate more ice cream if they had had a preload which seems to show dieting can lead to overeating
            • Seems to be because once dieters have eaten more than they want due to the preload a cognitive boundary has been overcome so they become disinhibited and eat as much as they need to satisfy their hunger; the boundary model- lots of research found the same thing
    • Dieting can Work
      • National Weight Control Registry is a database of more than 3,000 successful dieters, a number of factors have been linked to successful dieting: -eating low fat foods, -being vigilant about body weight and eating habits, -engaging in lots of physical activity
      • Powell also found a number of factors could enable diets to succeed in the long term, this included: low fat diets combined with life style changes involving physical excercise, group and individual support and self monitoring


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