For years certain diets have been advertising that their plan will make you lose weight miraculously with little effort. Look at infomercials and website ads that claim that on their plan you will lose 10 pounds in a week by following only one easy rule. These are not only unhealthy but can be potentially harmful. And these plans are not sustainable over the long term. Most people who try these programs will gain the weight back– plus more. The best way to avoid these diets is to not start one in the first place. To easily detect a fad diet, evaluate each plan with these six questions.
Does this plan eliminate entire food groups such as no fat or no sugar? If a diet plan cuts out entire food groups, stir clear of it. .Many plans will claim that the key to losing weight is by eliminated carbohydrates. However, eliminating entire food groups, like carbohydrates, also eliminates the important nutrients that these foods provide. Carbohydrates are important for brain function and energy. Cutting them out can lead to lack of energy and concentration problems. Many of these plans can then lead to malnutrition.
Does this plan contain a list of “good” and “bad” food? If there is a “good” and “bad” list, avoid this plan. There are no “bad” foods as many diet plans claim. There are foods to eat less of, such as desserts, but not completely ban. There are also foods that we need to eat more of, like fruits and vegetables, but calling them “good” can lead to guilt when we eat the “bad” ones. All foods have a place in a healthy eating plan.
Does this plan call for you to take a special pill/herb or drink a shake in place of a meal? Any diet plan that says weight loss will not happen unless you take this special pill/herb or shake is just trying to sell its product. Many weight loss pills can cause heart attacks and other health problems. Always eat real food when you are trying to lose weight.
Does this diet plan call for a major cut back on eating, effectively starving yourself? If you find that the diet calls for an extreme lack of calories then it definitely is not worth your time. Starvation can lead to weight gain because the body is trying to conserve its resources from what little food energy you are taking in. Then, when you start eating again you will overeat and gain more weight. Eat enough nutrient dense foods so you do not feel constantly hungry.
Does this plan have a promise of a quick weight loss, such as 10 pounds in one week? Stay as far away from this type of plan as possible. Losing 10 pounds in a week is extremely unhealthy and you could do real damage to your body. Plus, most people would not be able to sustain the starvation long enough. You will become discouraged with your progress and overeat when you decide you can’t be on the diet anymore. A healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week maximum.
Does this plan use an overall claim that sounds too good to be true? If it sounds so good that you wonder how true it is, go with our gut feelings…the plan is a fad. Real weight loss takes work and commitment, and can be a slow process. This process will pay off with permanent weight loss. Stick with a sensible plan that focuses on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy products broken down into three meals and two snacks a day. Exercise regularly and eat less high fat foods. No fad diet required.
Webmd.com, Women’s Health, Weight loss: Spotting Fad Diets, http://women.webmd.com/fad-diets, Accessed on June 19th, 2009
TeensHealth, 5 Ways to Spot A Fad Diet, http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/dieting/fad_diet_tips.html, Accessed on June 19th, 2009