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Fad diets: the facts

Posted 8/21/2015

Many people choose to lose weight, but become confused over all the miracle options available. Should they choose teas or pills, liquid lunches, dieter’s bars, or one of the hundreds of fad diets that are available? All promise to slim you down fast with a minimum of effort on your part. With so many choices, it’s hard to know where to start.

Fortunately, there are some basic guidelines that people can follow to help them lose weight. Because individual body chemistries differ dramatically, one rigid formula will not work for everyone. Basic guidelines lay a foundation for healthy weight loss and can be altered to suit individual needs.

One type of diet that is very popular is the rapid crash diet. Unfortunately, or fortunately, these diets are not something most people can follow consistently. Another problem is that they don’t teach people practical ways to manage their weight. Because of this, weight regain is often the inevitable result.

The best and safest way to lose weight is two-fold; cut back on calories and increase your physical activity. How you cut back on calories is the key. The American Dietetic Association states in a position paper, “All weight management programs should at the very least include a gradual change to a healthful eating style with increased intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.” This healthful eating style should also include a reduction in eating calorie-dense foods such as cookies, sugary desserts, chips, fried foods, candies, etc. Research on people who have been successful at losing a lot of weight and keeping it off long term show that the great majority have succeeded by consuming a low-fat, high-fiber diet while taking part in regular exercise.

Email or call Susan Lednicky, Nutritionist with Clark County Cooperative Extension, at 702-257-5548.

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