Have you ever thought “If I could just go on a really low calorie diet for a little while, I would lose these extra pounds, and life would be so much better?” If so, you are certainly not alone. Every year thousands, if not millions, of people try fad diets and various weight loss products hoping to find the magic bullet. The problem is there really is not a quick-fix diet or a miracle product that leads to healthy, long-term weight loss.
Certainly, there are fad diets out there that will cause quick weight-loss. However, they are too restrictive, and often too boring, to be sustainable. In some cases, they can even be harmful to your health. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) website defines a fad diet as “a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy or unbalanced diet.” UPMC also suggested you ask yourself the following questions to recognize if a certain plan is actually a fad diet:
· Does the diet promise quick weight loss?
· Does it sound too good to be true?
· Does it promote a certain company’s product?
· Does it lack sound research to back up its claims?
· Does the diet include a list of “good” and “bad” foods?
If the answer is “yes” to one or more of the above questions, the diet is probably a fad diet. Restrictive, fad diets not only can cause you to miss out on essential nutrients, but they can end up slowing down your metabolism. This can lead to extra weight gain once you go off the diet and return to your usual eating patterns.
So, what does work? The answer is a healthy, well-balanced eating plan along with a well-planned exercise routine. It is also necessary to address behavior issues such as emotional or mindless eating. This may not sound quick, easy or glamourous, but these are what research continues to show are necessary components for healthy, sustainable weight loss. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a total diet approach to healthy eating. The Academy states “All foods can fit within this pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.”
Please keep in mind that the above information does not apply to people who have been diagnosed by their healthcare provider with food allergies or food sensitivities. For those individuals, avoiding the foods proven to cause a serious allergic reaction or other adverse symptoms is a must. Stay tuned to the Nourish blog for more sound advice and tips on how to improve the quality of your diet and manage your weight.