4 Harmful Fad Diet Flops
Have you heard of the low carb, grapefruit, strict vegan, raw food or the appetizing cabbage soup diets? All these diets may promise to make you drop five pant sizes in 2014, but they are not all they are cracked up to be, says
UAMS dietitian Courtney Cathey.
“There is not one fad diet that is worse than any other fad diet,” she says. “All fad diets are typically harmful if used for the long term.”
If your diet requires any of the following, you should consider ditching it:
Eliminating Food Groups: Diets can be harmful when they say certain foods groups are bad, such as proteins, fruits, grains and dairy. “Each food group provides important nutrients for the body,” Cathey says. “Eliminating food groups can cause a decrease in energy, mood changes and nutritional deficiencies.” Forcing yourself to cut foods you enjoy can set you up for severe cravings as well. “All foods can usually be allowed in a diet in
moderation,” she says.
Eating Very Few Calories: Our bodies must have food for fuel, and when a diet calls for too little food it’s a recipe for disaster. These diets may have the word “cleanse” or “fasting” in the title. “If the diet is
very low in calories, requires purchasing shakes or bars or is not supervised by a licensed board certified medical professional, it can be dangerous,” Cathey says. Eating too few calories is actually counterproductive to weight loss because your body thinks it’s starving. Therefore, it adjusts your
metabolism to store calories.
Do this instead: Pay attention to the correct portion sizes on
food labels and keep track of your daily calories with a
diary or food log. Make sure that you are getting the right amount of calories for your height and age in order to lose weight. Try this
food calorie counter.
Taking Pills: Weight loss pills and supplements can be unhealthy and pricey weight loss solutions. If a diet pill promises something that is too good to be true, it probably is. Most over-the-counter pills are filled with caffeine and diuretics that can lead to
electrolyte imbalance and even
dehydration. And even if a product claims to be “natural” and doctor-approved, doesn’t it is true or safe for you.
Do this instead: Cathey recommends that if you feel lost in your weight loss journey, meet with a
dietitian who can develop a healthy meal plan to meet your needs.
Requiring a Detox: To detox sounds like a positive thing for your body. You may have heard people praising these diets for their cleansing abilities, but physicians and dietitians will tell you that this measure is unnecessary. “The body is already able to eliminate toxins through different organs like the liver and kidneys,” Cathey says. You may lose weight on a
detox diet because they require consuming only liquids, fruits or vegetables. But it may not stick. Because they are recommended for only a short period of time, it is not a lifestyle many can maintain.
Do this instead: Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into every meal. Start by making half of your plate veggies and fruit. They are a natural cleanser for your body and will give you the energy you need. Take the
“Choose My Plate” quiz.