The Atkins diet, the Zone diet, the Cookie Diet- fad diets come and go as quickly as fashion changes in New York. If these diets were really effective no-one would ever have a weight problem. Here are some ways to spot a fad diet:
1. Dramatic statements
This is probably the biggest warning sign of any fad diet. Any diet promising that you will lose 20kg in a month is a fad diet. Weight loss is only healthy and sustainable at a goal of 500g to 1kg per week. Also look out for statements like “eat all you want and still lose weight”, and terms like “effortless,” “easy,” “guaranteed,” “breakthrough formula,” and the like.
2. Restricting foods
A diet that tells you to completely eliminate a certain food or food group from your diet should send alarm bells off in your head. Not only is it unsustainable, but restricting a food or an entire food group will exclude vital nutrients and put you at an increased risk for developing nutritional deficiencies in the long run.
3. ‘Good’ vs. ‘bad’ foods
Any diet that tells you that certain foods are bad and certain foods good is worrisome. No food is good or bad, and all foods can form part of a healthy diet, though some foods need to be eaten in moderation. Just like a car needs the right petrol to run properly, we need to fuel our bodies with a healthy diet for adequate carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, all which come from a variety of foods.
In this era of instant gratification the idea of working towards a long-term goal is fiction to most. There is no such thing as a quick-fix when it comes to healthy weight loss, and it is almost guaranteed that just as quickly as you lose the weight you will pick it up again. If no long-term behaviours are put into place, can a 30kg weight loss really be long-term and sustainable?
5. Buy me!
Be wary of diets that require for you to buy certain products, pills, powders or lotions in order to work effectively. These gimmicks are merely to make your pocket and not your butt lighter. Be wary of diets that recommended the use of specific products with claims that they will improve your weight loss.
…and remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
The best diet is not to diet at all, but rather make healthy food choices to lose and maintain weight loss. At the end of the day sustainable weight loss can only be achieved by eating a healthy, balanced diet in combination with an increase in physical activity.
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