According to Dr. Michael Dansinger, a nutrition expert at Tufts Medical Center, said having less freedom in choosing meals seems to help people meet their dieting goals.
In a head-to-head comparison with a traditional diet, people who stuck to a diet of portion-controlled packaged foods lost almost twice as much weight as those who only got advice on how to trim calories, according to a new study.
"When there's less structure, then participants are making more decisions, and I think too often they're making decisions that undermine their goal to stick to a calorie target," said Dansinger, who was not part of the study.
The diet the researchers studied was the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan. It consists of five pre-packaged meals each day, along with one meal of vegetables and protein prepared by the dieter. (Note: Medifast funded this study and one of the researchers has performed paid consulting for the company.)