Fad Diets

Most diets are not healthy

Weight Loss By Fad Diets. What A Bad Idea!

If you watch TV, read the occasional newspaper, or even just glance at the magazine covers as you wait to check out at Walmart, it seems almost as if there is a new fad diet published every week. You can't even go through the supermarket checkout without seeing several magazines touting one or another, and the TV has ads for all sorts of strange weight loss pills and potions. Many of these diets may contain elements of the truth, but on the whole they contain more good marketing than good science.

Lower body mass index with African Mango PlusFirst, here's the 3-day diet, which recommends eating little more than fruits for three days, followed by vegetables or meat or grains the other days. There are lots of variations on this theme.

While it is certainly true that eating fruit regularly is an important element in good nutrition and good health - most contain needed carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber - eating fruit almost exclusively for three days leads to imbalances - in carbohydrates, fiber and additional components which would be healthy otherwise. To an extent, the body will process and store what it needs for later, but there are limits.

Similarly, those "low carb, high protein" diets, such as the Atkins diet, recommend cutting way down on carbohydrates and eating substantial amounts of food high in protein. Again, here's an important nutrient, protein which is vital to proper nutrition, but so are carbohydrates. Putting too much emphasis on the first over the second leads to rapid, temporary weight loss, but at a high health cost.

Carbohydrates are definitely essential for supplying energy for all biochemical processes, though the body, when necessary, will use other sources, such as fat and protein. Too great an emphasis on protein reduces the ability of the body to store and regulate the appropriate amount of water, whereas carbohydrates help with that.

There are even very attractive sounding "chocolate diets"! Nearly everyone loves chocolate and, contrary to some reports of a few years ago, it is healthy - in moderation. Chocolate contains anti-oxidants and other compounds that are helpful, but, as with anything, too much of a good thing is just that - too much. Also, since many will seek chocolate in forms that come with high fat and sugar amounts it's possible to get some not-so-helpful elements along with the good.

Then there are ultra-low fat diets. Once again, the problem isn't with reduced fat, but in once again going to extremes. A certain amount of fat in the diet is a healthy thing. In fact, fat gets a bad rap.

Any diet which makes promises of radical, rapid, or quick weight loss - or other extreme claims - is almost guaranteed to be more harmful than helpful. The human body has evolved over millions of years and decades of good nutritional research still confirms one common sense truth: balance is good, moderation is healthy.

Eat moderate portions at regular intervals of fruits and vegetables (for vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber), grains (for carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber), protein (for amino acids) and dairy products (for calcium, unless you're lactose intolerant). For the average person, between 2000-2500 calories per day is appropriate. Less for women, on average, and for those seeking rapid weight loss.

A balanced diet, when coupled with age-appropriate, moderate, and regular exercise, will lead to a healthy percentage of body fat, good muscle tone and a well-tuned system.

You'll find you feel better and look good.

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Page Updated 3:35 PM Wednesday 9/2/2015