Do you often wonder if fad diets really work? With new information appearing almost daily on how to lose weight, it’s no wonder we’re confused about how to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle.
But the most important thing to remember about fad diets is that they don’t offer long-term weight loss or improved health. Eating a variety of foods in moderation, coupled with regular exercise, is the best plan for long-term weight loss and healthy eating habits.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) defines fad diets as “unreasonable or exaggerated beliefs that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrient supplements or combinations of certain foods may cure disease, convey special health benefits or offer quick weight loss.”
Fad diets are popular because many of them do work for a short time. However, it is likely that much of the weight you lose is from water and lean muscle, not body fat. Most individuals cannot keep up with the demands of a diet that restricts certain foods and many calories. In addition, when calories are severely restricted, your body goes into starvation mode, causing your metabolism to actually slow down. You end up gaining back any weight that you may lose – known as the “yo-yo diet” effect.
Following are tips for identifying fad diets:
● If it sounds too good to be true, it is – especially if the diet or product offers a “quick fix.”
● Is the source of the information – such as a book author – also trying to sell a product, such as supplements?
● Products offering a guaranteed cure or which promote “limited-time offers.”
● Diets that require you to avoid foods or entire food groups.
In recognition of National Nutrition Month® in March, the ADA is urging consumers to be 100 percent “Fad Free.” The ADA also offers practical nutrition advice and information for making informed food choices and developing sound physical activity habits. For more information on National Nutrition Month, visit www.eatright.org.