Weight Loss Methods

Clearly, the best method to lose weight is through dieting and regulation of food intake with an increase in physical activity (exercise). In fact, many dieting programs are very successful at helping people lose weight.

However, the main problem is in maintaining the new lower weight. Less than 25 percent of people who start a weight loss diet program will lose 40 pounds or more and maintain it for one year. In fact, most patients regain all the weight they lost. This failure of weight maintenance occurs because the diets are very difficult to adhere to. Foods are frequently non-tasty, all one type or mostly liquids.

Surgery may be an option when dieting programs are unable to help a person achieve and maintain the weight loss.

Success Rates for Weight Loss Methods

Placebo

  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 1 year is 4-to-6 percent 1
  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 5 years is 0 percent 1

Diet/Behavior Modification

  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 1 year is 8-to-12 percent 1
  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 5 years is 1.6 percent 1

Drug Therapy

  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 1 year is 10 percent 1
  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 5 years is 10 percent (using continuing drug therapy) 1 

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 1 year is 65-to-85 percent 2
  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 5 years is 55-to-70 percent 2

Adjustable Gastric Banding

  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 1 year is 30-to-40 percent 2
  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 5 years is 40-to-50 percent 2

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 1 year is 45-to-60 percent 3
  • Average percent of excess weight lost at the end of 5 years is 50-to-60 percent 3

Learn more about weight loss surgery options »

1 Elliosoff, 1997
2 Sjostrom NEJM 2004
3 Lee, CM, Cirangle PT, Jossart GH, Vertical gastrectomy for morbid obesity in 216 patients: report of two year results. Surg Endosc (2007) 21: 1810-1816