By Adam DuPree, RD/LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager
As we ring in the new year many will start thinking about resolutions, with the most common being “to lose weight”. While this is a healthful decision it is very broad and often lacks the proper setup for success. We tend to look for the newest trend or a diet that promises fast results, but many turn out to be “fads” that arenâ€™t maintainable. However, a truly healthy diet and lifestyle is stable, sustainable and aligns with evidence about maintaining a healthy weight to help prevent chronic disease.
How to spot a “fad” diet:
- Diets that either eliminate one or more of the essential food groups, or recommend consumption of one type of food in excess at the expense of other foods.
- Diets that allow for unlimited quantities of food (such as cabbage or grapefruit).
- Fad diets rarely follow sound nutritional principles for weight loss, which focus on ingesting fewer calories and/or consuming more energy through exercise.
- Fad diets are generally not endorsed by the medical profession.
Drawbacks of “fad” diets:
- If you lose weight quickly you are more likely to lose muscle, bone and water.
- It is hard to stick to a monotonous plan.
- There is no evidence that eating certain combinations of foods or eating foods at specific times of day will cause you to lose weight.
- Once you stop the diet, it’s easy to regain any weight that you lost.
- May not take into consideration other medical conditions you have.
A more healthful approach to weight loss or management:
- Focus on reducing added sugars and sodium first â€“ these tend to be easy targets and will have a quick impact.
- Be patient â€“ make small changes over time to form good habits that are sustainable.
- Try new foods â€“ if you donâ€™t like a fruit or vegetable, try a different one until you find ones that you like.
- Choose beverages wisely â€“ Reducing sugary sodas/juices in favor of waters or teas will cut calories and keep you hydrated.
- Increase activity â€“ moving more will not only burn calories but increase muscle and improve metabolism. Not to mention all the other health benefits.