Many people try to lose weight by limiting themselves to just one or two kinds of junk food. In theory, it sounds good. However, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is saying that although your calorie count from junk food may decrease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your overall calorie count will follow suit. Apparently, there are some people who compensate for their lack of junk food variety by consuming too much of other foods.


Researchers recruited 200 obese participants into a program that would supposedly help them lose weight. This involved group meetings, increased physical activity, and a calorie-reduced diet. In addition, half of the group was asked to limit their junk food variety to just two options.

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In the 18 months of the study, participants who were asked to limit their junk food variety were found to have consumed fewer calories from junk food compared to the other half. At six and 12 months, the limited group was consuming 100 less junk food calories each day. By the end of the study, they were consuming less than 80 junk food calories each day.

At the end of the study, both groups lost weight, having consumed fewer calories in the course of the program. However, they both lost the same amount of weight on average--around 4.5 kilograms--indicating that limiting junk food variety won’t give anyone an edge over other dieters.

According to Alexandra Johnstone, a researcher at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, who was consulted by for her thoughts on the study, "It makes sense to try and reduce the amount of variety in the diet, but human beings enjoy eating, so they will find other food components to consume than the ones that are being limited."


If you want to lose weight more successfully, don’t just limit your junk food variety; do the same for your other meals. Portion control is also a big factor that contributes to weight loss.

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