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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Low Down on Fad Diets

As fad diets come and go, the weight goes up and down.

When bathing suit season approaches, there’s always a diet that promises you’ll be thinner in six weeks. The appeal of these diets comes from the hope that we can be slim and trim with as little effort as possible. Most fad diets work in the beginning, usually because the suggested eating regimens help you cut calories in one way or another. But diets that restrict certain food groups or promise unrealistic results are difficult – or unhealthy – to sustain over time. As soon as you go back to your usual eating patterns, the weight comes piling back on. This creates the yo-yo effect of losing and regaining weight.

There is no magic bullet.

No matter which hook a fad diet is using, it isn’t reasonable to expect miraculous weight loss that will last. The trick is to find an everyday eating plan that not only keeps the pounds off but also provides the right balance of calories and nutrition – and that combination requires a lifestyle change.

While most fad diets result in quick weight loss early on, more research is needed on the effectiveness for long-term weight loss. If followed for a long time, these diets may result in potential health problems. To lose weight safely and effectively, you should eat an appropriate number of calories from a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free dairy products. Also cut back on the nutrient-poor foods, and be physically active.

You’ll know it’s a fad diet if it:
  • Promises magic or miracle foods that burn fat.
  • Requires you to eat unusual quantities of only one food or food type.
  • Requires rigid menus of a limited selection of foods to be eaten at a specific time and day.
  • Requires you to eat specific food combinations in certain sequences or combinations.
  • Promises rapid weight loss of more than two pounds a week.
  • Has no warning for those with diabetes or high blood pressure to seek medical advice before starting the diet.
  • Does not include increased physical activity as part of the plan.
Sources:
American Heart Association

Check this out: Staying Away from Fad Diets from the American Dietetic Association.  This is another great resource with great information about fad diets.

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