All too frequently, fad diets are thrown our way promising quick weight loss without changing our lifestyles. They promise the moon, ensuring that this amazing new diet will revolutionize the weight loss world.
Some sing the praises of eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Others require frequent fasting and avoiding particular foods. Others swear by combining (or not combining) certain foods in a meal.
While these "fad diets" are all different, they do have two things in common.
1- They promise fast and easy weight loss, and
2- They completely neglect the principles of proper nutrition.
Most of us know that losing weight is not easy. It requires a great deal of concentration, will power, and, at times, planning. But do not let this steer you into the dark world of fad diets! Fad diets can be harmful and sometimes quite dangerous.
Let's take a look at the effects of some of these diets and begin to debunk their outrageous claims.
The "Eat more meat, minimize grains, fruits, and veggies" diet
This diet restricts your carb intake to 20 grams a day. This only gives you one-tenth of the amount of carbohydrates recommended! Without sufficient carbs, you experience a loss of energy, your brain isn't as sharp as it should, you may feel cranky and agitated, and your bowel system takes a beating. Does not sound like a good choice of diet to me!
The "Cut out all sugars" diet
While refined sugars are not recommended, some forms of sugars are OK. Natural sugars found in fruit, honey, whole grains, and complex carbohydrates (which turns to sugar when your body processes the food) are fine. Like with anything, just do not go completely overboard.
The "Cut your calories to 850 a day" diet
This would cut your intake to more than half of what it should be for an average person! I do not think I have to tell you how dangerous this is.
So why do fad diets get so much attention?
Initially, in most cases, you WILL lose weight. But it is only temporary and your body usually takes a beating in the process. These diets are unnatural and not the way our body was programmed to eat.
And truthfully, very few people stick to these fad diets. Those looking for a "fast and easy fix" and who are not willing to make the hard journey toward changing their lifestyle usually are drawn to fad diets, only to find that when all is said and done, all the weight they lost is back. And oftentimes, it is more than when they initially started out with.
The only diets that work are those that focus of healthy foods, low in calorie and fat, with all the nutrients our body needs. Honestly, dieting should not require a complicated formula or excessive calorie counting. Making wise food choices, not over-eating, and exercising enough is exactly what the body needs to lose those extra pounds.
So, what does a healthy diet look like?
A healthy diet will include the following qualities:
Reduced-fat: Fat has an incredible amount of calories as compared to other foods: almost 50% more calories! And more than likely, excess fat is stored on the body for future use. So when you overindulge on fat and do not burn it off, it sits on your body until it is used. Imagine day after day, piling on more and more fat and how easy it can be to gain weight! You must be aware of the amount of fat you are consuming if you want to maintain a lean, healthy weight.
Doctors recommend that the average person should get no more than 20 to 30 percent of their total daily calories from fat. Any more than that, and weight loss begins. Cut back on fatty meats and dairy, fried foods, and high fat snacks like potato chips. You will be on your way to cutting the fat from your diet.
Carbohydrates: Never doubt this fact: Carbs are our friends! (As long as they are healthy carbs!) Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, and complex carbohydrates give us a full feeling so we are less likely to over-eat. The body also uses them to burn for energy, which makes them less likely to be stored as fat. A bonus? Complex, good carbs are full of important nutrients our body needs.
Eat in moderation: The biggest problem most people face, and I, too, am guilty of this, is over-eating. Eat in moderation. Do not stuff yourself until you feel full. Stop before that, when you feel satisfied. This is a fantastic tip to learn and get in the habit of implementing!
Another point to eating in moderation is this: you do not have to completely sacrifice the foods you love. Craving a snack that is not the healthiest choice? Then every once in a while, have a little! Most people fail at dieting because they go "cold turkey" on their favorite, fattening foods and end up binging on them in the end. If you allow yourself, every once in a while, to indulge on a little, you will be far more successful at weight loss in the end.
Snack, but wisely! Snacks can be great in curbing our appetites. Just make them small and healthy. An apple, a small handful of pretzels, and some carrots: you get the picture.
Losing weight really is not a new thing. Throughout the centuries, the functioning of our bodies has changed very little. So do not be fooled when a new diet comes along, singing the praises of new findings about how our body burns fat. If you stick with traditional whole-foods, have a variety of them, and indulge yourself every now and then, you WILL be successful at weight loss!
Nothing on this site is a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. You should not use this site as a substitute for professional medical advice. For serious ailments, or if symptoms persist, you must see a medical
professional. You should not stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.