The mission of the Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss is to advance the science of sustainable weight loss for everyone.
The vision of the Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss is a world in which anyone, anywhere, who wants to lose their excess weight and keep it off will have access to a science-backed approach that empowers their success.
The Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss (IfSWL) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of New Jersey to provide research, support and information to those interested in long-term, sustainable weight loss. This website is for informational purposes only and does not replace the need for individual consultations with a physician. The IfSWL does not engage in the practice of medicine, endorse any particular commercial products, doctors, surgeons, medications, treatments or techniques. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and recommendations. By using this website, you agree to this Medical Disclaimer.
Overweight and obesity are now serious health risks globally, impacting more than a billion people and more than 2/3 of the US population. While there is no shortage of weight-loss products and plans, during any given year, fewer than 1% of obese adults (with BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m2) lose enough excess weight to reach the upper limit of normal weight (with BMI < 25.0 kg/m2). Of those successful few, most proceed to regain some or all of that weight over the next few years. Commercial weight loss programs and bariatric surgery rarely result in attainment and maintenance of a normal body weight. Yet research shows that losing excess weight is the number one thing people can do to reduce the risk of myriad diseases, not to mention increase self-esteem and quality of life. The need for effectual, sustainable weight-loss interventions has never been greater. In addition, the need for external funding of research in this area is clear. The food industry has a vested interest in people buying more and more of their products, even if not needed for nutrition. The pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in pill-based management of the chronic diseases associated with obesity. The health care industry has a vested interest protecting the cash flow to doctors, surgeons and other specialists involved in the ongoing maintenance of obesity. The weight-loss industry has an ongoing vested interest in people buying specialized foods, supplements, books, and support, and failing with each attempt – only to start another plan in a few months. Considering that these are the same industries that tend to fund weight-loss research, potential conflicts of interest abound. Judicious choices of cohorts and endpoints can significantly skew results to those desired and the abbreviated interpretation of results found in abstracts may differ significantly from the raw data. Yet, in any given year, 63% of deaths are attributable to diseases fueled by the unhealthy food we keep putting in our mouths. This is the urgency of our work. Obesity is treated as a chronic disease that is managed, not cured, while filling the coffers of the food, pharmaceutical, health care, and weight loss industries. Those industries have no desire to reduce their revenues nor to support studies whose results might hurt their businesses. Unfortunately, that puts us last. As a society, we are in dire need of a model of effective, sustainable weight loss, and a group of scientists committed to testing and optimizing that model in various populations and cultures. We need science-backed, sustainable weight loss to replace the cycles of failed attempts. With the science understood, we would not need the permission of the food, pharmaceutical, healthcare, and weight loss industries for our health to be the priority. There is research to be done, and we need your help.
We are focused on how to make weight loss sustainable and not engaged in short-term evaluations of diets or weight loss programs. Although people can lose weight following such diets or programs, within several years, most regain much or all of that weight. We support research studying the changes in the brain and body that promote permanent weight loss, and the behaviors that best support those changes.
The Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss (IfSWL) desires to provide the means for each person to attain a healthy weight and remain there. To understand sustainable weight loss, we need to determine the short-term and long-term changes that occur in the brain and other organs as we transition from normal weight to obesity and back to normal weight.
The results of all studies will be freely available to the public and may be used modify existing programs, or establish new diets and programs.
Research topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
- How long does it take for the dopamine receptors in the nucleus accumbens to regenerate after someone stops eating sugar or non-nutritive sweeteners?
- Does flour (or another ingredient) cause down-regulation in the reward centers of the brain? If so, how does the recovery compare with sugar?
- How do the levels of hormones such as leptin and ghrelin change after people have achieved significant weight loss and are maintaining it? How do these changes differ for different weight loss protocols?
- What affects leptin resistance and how can it best be reversed?
- What behaviors are most correlated with long-term weight loss success or failure?
- How should optimum weight evolve during aging?
- How are specific genes associated with the likelihood that a formerly-obese person will succeed or fail at sustaining their weight-loss permanently? How can the expression of such genes be affected?