Fad Diets Vs. Good Nutrition

In a world where there is always a new diet being lauded on infomercials and in magazines, it can be difficult to determine what is simply a fad with no long term potential, or something that puts you on the path to full body health with complete nutrition. In order to keep your body healthy, it’s important to steer clear of radical diets that sacrifice long term health for short term, rapid weight loss goals.

If you see a diet that appeals to you, there are some things you can look for that indicate if it is a healthy diet or not.

● Promises of extremely fast weight loss
● Drastically different before and after photos
● Indications that exercise is unnecessary for weight loss with the program
● Significantly limited food choices on the diet
● “Too good to be true” promises or celebrity endorsements
● The plan requires you to spend lots of money on prepackaged meals, “supplements” or seminars

If you’re already following a diet, and have suspicions about its authenticity, here are some physical warning signs that the diet you are on is not nutritionally sound:

● Frequent dizziness
● Constant hunger pains
● Painful muscle cramps
● Fainting spells
● Irregular bowel movements (frequent constipation OR diarrhea)
● Fluctuating moods
● Dehydration

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms while on a diet, you need to change your weight loss plan. Poor nutrition and extreme diets may show progress on the scale, but typically do not last. Many people who follow these unreliable fad diets will find that all the weight they have lost will come back.

The best way to lose weight and keep it off is the slow and steady way. Don’t sacrifice the health of your body for a number on the scale. Here are a few simple tips you can use to lose weight without sacrificing good nutrition.

● Check your BMI to determine how much weight you need to lose in order to be a healthy size. You should see your doctor in order to confirm the number of pounds you need to lose and create a reasonable plan.
● Calculate the number of calories you need per day via the USDA Adult Energy Needs calculator. To lose one pound per week, subtract 500 from that number. To lose two pounds per week, subtract 1000.
● Maintain good nutrition by eating fresh fruits and vegetables and steering clear of unhealthy fats and refined sugar.
● Don’t underestimate physical exercise. Maintaining a regular exercise program will assist you in losing weight and being healthy.
● Remember that even losing a small amount of weight can have huge health benefits.
● Eat regular meals in order to prevent extreme hunger that may result in unhealthy food choices or overeating.
● Put your plan on paper in order to make it easier to follow through with your goals.

Don’t fell prey to unhealthy fads that don’t have long term benefits. Use a sound, nutritionally sufficient diet that enables you to lose weight at a slow and steady pace. Exercise in addition to your new diet and before you know it, you’ll see results that will last. Establish new healthy habits and your body will thank you.

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver / Foter / CC BY

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