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How to Evaluate the Next Trendy Diet

Thursday, 31 Dec 2009 11:11 AM


Excerpted from the monthly Healthy Living section in the January 2010 issue of Newsmax magazine.

“Lose weight, guaranteed!” “Lose 10 pounds in two weeks!” “Cleanse, detox, and rejuvenate your body while you lose weight.”
Sound familiar? Advertisements for fast-working -- even “miraculous” -- diets blanket the Internet and television promising big results with little effort. And why not? With more than 65 percent of Americans overweight or obese, we’re susceptible to such promises.
The average person doesn’t understand what it takes to achieve sustained weight loss through sound nutrition and physical activity, says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and associate professor of clinical nutrition at Boston University.
“Eating better to them might be to go to the salad bar, but they get cheese and bacon bits,” she says. “Here they are thinking they are doing a great job and making a change. They don’t know who to believe or what to follow and fall prey to whatever comes around the corner.”
But most diets marketed today won’t result in long-term, healthful weight loss, and some, such as ones that eliminate or severely limit entire food groups, or focus on a “cleansing” or “detoxification” concoction, can even be dangerous, nutrition experts say.
“If it has ‘miracle’ in the title, stay away from it,” warns Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles.
Several factors must be considered to make sense of the diet options. A successful weight management plan involves all four food groups including lean meat, fish, and poultry; fruits and vegetables; whole grains; and dairy, according to Giancoli. Nutrition experts recommend asking yourself the following questions when another diet plan woos you:

Is it well-balanced with foods from all food groups? Low-carb diets promise fast weight loss, but your body needs a minumum of 130 grams of carbs every day.
Does it forbid foods? Depriving yourself on any one food will likely make you crave it more and possible lead to a binge.
Does it bank on slow, consistent weight loss? Two pounds per week is considered a healthy goal.
Does it include strategies for my bad habits? Seek advice for combating snack attacks.
Does it involve physical activity? "Any diet that says exercise is not necessary -- that's a red flag that it won't work long term," Giancoli says.

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If losing weight is at the top of your 2010 resolutions, don’t fall for those get-thin-quick gimmicks. They can be expensive, harmful to your health, and many simply don’t work. Instead, know which questions to ask before starting a new program.
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Thursday, 31 Dec 2009 11:11 AM
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