Friday, August 30, 2013

Separating a good diet from a fad diet

Part of  being on a path to wellness is watching what you eat. But with so much information out there, how do you decide what is best for you?

The best place to start is to figure out if the diet you are contemplating is a fad rather than something that you can use long term. The Journal of Healthy Living examined several diets back in 2011 and listed 5 diets that they determined were fads - The Detox Plan, The Snack Pack Diet, The Twinkie Diet, The HCG Diet, and The Atkins Diet. While several of these diets may help you lose weight initially, they can wreak havoc on your metabolism which means you will only be able to keep weight off if you continue to follow their strict rules indefinitely, or that you will only lose weight for a small amount of time before your body regulates itself and you find yourself at a plateau.

Other popular fad diets that have occurred during the 2000's include: The Slim Fast Diet, The Cookie Diet, The Grapefruit Diet, The Chicken Soup Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Six Week Body Makeover, The Lemonade Diet, The Hollywood Diet, and The Three Day Diet.

To determine if the diet plan you are considering is a fad, check out these guidelines from Fit by WebMD:
"What a Healthy Weight Loss Plan Looks Like
If the diet or food plan you're considering is healthy, it should include most - if not all - of these elements:
- Has both a balanced nutrition plan with a variety of foods and includes ongoing exercise
- Has a goal of slow and steady weight loss of about 1/2 to 2 pounds (maximum) per week
- Encourages your doctor's involvement, especially if you've never exercised before or if you are hoping to lose a substantial amount of weight
- Is based on common sense - limits fat, sugar, and the overall amount of food you eat, and encourages you to exercise more

What a Fad Diet Looks Like
The diet or food plan is probably unhealthy if it includes any of the following:
- Bans specific foods or entire food groups ("no carbs")
- Requires you to only eat certain foods (like the grapefruit diet, or the cabbage soup diet)
- Requires special foods, pills, or supplements for weight loss to occur. Remember, just because products are sold in stores doesn't mean they are always safe for you to use
- Offers quick weight loss but no long-term plan to keep the weight off after you've lost it
- Tries to sell you on the diet based primarily on "before" and "after" photos or celebrity endorsements
- Sounds too good to be true"

Your best approach to weight loss is a balanced, healthy approach that includes both dietary changes and exercise. WebMD wrote a great article worth checking out on creating a balanced diet that you can read by clicking here. Basically, you want to eat a variety of foods, practice portion control, and mix in exercise.


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