Pagoto prompts national diet research debate

UMMS psychologist talks with national media on new JAMA commentary

By Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

August 22, 2013

Sherry Pagoto, PhD, associate professor of medicine, was interviewed by a dozen media outlets after her call to end the war over the ideal diet ran in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Maybe we should shift our focus from what people should be eating—in terms of the ideal carb, fat, and protein ratio—to what is it that enables them to change their behavior for good,” Dr. Pagoto told the Boston Globe.

In an interview with WBUR, Pagoto said the patients she counsels in the UMass Memorial Weight Center struggle not with what to eat, but how to stick to a diet.

“The most common thing a patient will say is, ‘I want to lose weight, but life is getting in the way,’” she said in the WBUR story. “And what they mean is, ‘I am struggling with figuring out how to make these changes last and stick given everything else I’ve got to do.’ And that’s what they need help with. That’s a behavioral science question. It’s not a nutrition question per se.”

The commentary, co-authored by Bradley Appelhans, PhD, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, was published online Aug. 20, ahead of the Aug. 21 print edition of JAMA.

Read the full stories below:

Boston Globe
Should researchers abandon quest to find healthiest diet?

WBUR
Low Carb, Low Fat, Whatever — Let’s Study Stick-With-It Diet Behavior

NPR’s Here And Now
Is It Time To End The 'Diet Debates'?

Medpage Today
Diet Debate Not Helpful, Say Researchers

ABC News
There's No Perfect Diet, Researcher Says

New York Daily News
Which diet you choose doesn't matter: researchers

Fox News
Losing weight: Lifestyle changes trump any diet

WABC TV New York
Study Finds Fad Diets Are Not Always Successful

ABC News Radio
Of all the diet plans, which ones really work?