By Melissa Buscetta, RDN
There’s always a new diet being promoted as the best approach to weight loss. Unfortunately, many of these diets involve eliminating foods that contain necessary nutrients. Some diets even cut out entire food groups.
Many of these fad diets may lack major nutrients, such as dietary fiber and carbohydrates, as well as selected vitamins, minerals, and protective phytochemicals. By not receiving proper amounts of these nutrients, you can develop serious health problems.
With all the focus on weight in our society, it isn’t surprising that millions of people fall prey to fad diets. Conflicting claims, testimonials and hype by self-proclaimed experts can confuse even the most informed consumers. These diets tend to have one thing in common: a temporary solution to what for many is a lifelong problem. Once the diet is stopped, the weight lost is usually quickly regained, since none of the diets teach behavior modifications (permanently changing how you eat).
If you’re following a diet for health concerns – such as food intolerances, working with a registered dietitian can ensure you’re adhering to any restrictions while still receiving the necessary nutrients your body needs. If you’re interested in following an alternative diet for personal or general health reasons, its best to steer clear of any plans that include the following:
- Quantities and limitations- Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbohydrates. There are healthy forms of carbohydrates that our body prefers as energy sources.
- Specific food combinations- There is no evidence that combing certain foods or eating foods at specific times of the day will help with weight loss.
- Rigid Menus- With any new diet, always ask yourself, “Can I eat this way for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, the plan is not for you.
- No need to exercise- If you want to maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and lose fat, the best path is a lifelong combination of eating smarter and moving more.
Try to keep this in mind: If a diet or product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Wolfram, Taylor. “Staying Away from Fad Diets.” Eatright.org, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2 Jan. 2017, http://www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/staying-away-from-fad-diets.
Melissa Buscetta is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is currently working with Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients. She is very enthusiastic about teaching others how to live a healthier life before and after bariatric surgery.