Serious issue: Why the provision of services rarely obscures all dietary studies (5: 2 Intermittent fasting)

Last week I posted about an intermittent 5: 2 fasting study that showed a terrible rejection rate of 58% 5: 2 by the end of the year and where the average loss was 11 pounds.

In response, Erik Arnesen shared another year 5: 2 intermittent fasting versus continuous energy restriction study where the rate of abandonment at the end of the first year was only 7% and the average loss was £ 20! (and actually blogged about it in the past – tl; dr no difference in results, but 5: 2 participants were more hungry)

If the diets were the same, why the huge difference in attachment and weight loss in one year?

Sure, they could be different patient populations, but I guess the biggest factor was the provision of services. Because at the end of the day this is a huge part of what counts in every organized diet study. Not only in terms of the number of visits or contact points that a particular program has or what parallel materials and support they provide to participants, but also the development of relationships, motor skills and teaching skills of the service providers themselves.

Having led an interdisciplinary team for 16 years, I can tell you that those of you who have helped your patients / participants have a huge impact on their results, even within the tradition of the same program.

So the next time you look at the effects of each study's diet, one question is, how much of this is the result of the prescription diet itself, and how much is the healthcare professionals doing it?