The Skinny on Fad Diets

magsIt’s finally Spring, and you know what that means… beach season (and swimsuit season) will be here soon! To get in shape quick, many fall victim to Fad Diets. Don’t let one of them be you!

But what is a Fad Diet and how do you know if the diet you’re following is one?

A Fad Diet is a diet that enjoys temporary popularity and is usually extreme.

Warning signs of a Fad Diet are:

  • Promises of rapid weight loss and no need for exercise.
  • Unlimited quantities of a certain food (think Cabbage Soup Diet or Grapefruit Diet).
  • Strict limitations, like no carbohydrates.
  • Rigid menus that label foods as “good” or “bad”.
  • “Miracle foods” or weight loss supplements.
  • Claims that combining some foods, or not combining some foods is the key to weight loss.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Most Fad Diets do not promote lifestyle change and are not sustainable, which can lead to regaining the lost weight. Some can even be dangerous if followed for longer period of time due to a lack of necessary nutrients.

But, what is a healthy way to lose weight, and keep it off when summertime is long gone?

A healthy diet should be in line with the dietary guidelines, include physical activity, fit into your lifestyle, promote slow weight loss, and include behavior change.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that a healthy diet should:

  • Be rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fat-free or low fat dairy products.
  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Low in trans- and saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugar.
  • Stay within caloric needs.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that adults should include 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.  Resistance training should be included 2 or more times a week.

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