Titles like the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Grapefruit Diet and Fruitarianism imply the diets offer simple, healthy ways to lose weight. While some of these diets have proven effective in the short term, there is little evidence to support longer term effectiveness and some evidence to show they may actually be harmful if followed long term. This is a problem because long term weight loss requires permanent life changes, none of which are possible through restrictive diets such as these.
When considering your next diet plan, ask yourself the following questions before you begin. Then discuss the dietary changes with your doctor before beginning.
1. Does the diet offer a range of foods?
A diet that revolves around one food or type of food will deprive dieters of a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, calories and vitamins that a balanced diet demands. Fad diets do not typically contain adequate fruit and vegetables in the quantities that your body needs. A good diet will include fruit, dairy, protein, cereals, vegetables and bread.
2. Is your diet short on carbohydrates? Low carb diets are among the most damaging weight loss methods. People often feel constantly tired while they are on low carb diets, and sometimes report constipation and other symptoms associated with an unbalanced diet.
Low carb dietary regimes could deprive the organs of your body – including your brain - of enough carbohydrates to function properly. While science does not wholly understand the enduring consequences of low-carb diets, it is a fact that they do not contain the sources of nourishment to sustain enduring health. In addition, those who follow them often suffer side effects such as constipation and fatigue.
With the severe limitations the fad diets place on your eating choices, if there are not enough calories going into your body, it will draw the energy it needs from muscle tissue. The outcome is not only drastic weight loss, but also your appearance suffers due to an absence of muscle. Without muscle, your body will not burn the calories it needs to, so the weight starts to pile back on.
3. Does your diet guarantee a large weight loss in a short time?
The loss of weight that comes as a result of rapid diets is frequently only water, and it returns as quickly as it vanished.
4. Does your diet include an exercise plan?
Fad diets are focused on the positive results of changes to the kind of food you eat, with little or no advice regarding exercise. Neither is there any warning about the possibility of symptoms like diarrhea, low blood pressure and dehydration.
5. Does the diet require that you buy a dietary supplement, pills or a shake?
Some diets are associated with supplementary products that should only be taken under the guidance of a nutritionist. If you do not have this guidance, the supplements will not be an integrated part of a real diet plan and could do more harm than good.
6. Does the diet offer any kind of plan beyond the promised early weight loss?
Real and permanent weight loss is the result of a long-term change in eating habits and alterations in lifestyle. Fad diets do not include a plan for motivating the dieter after the initial loss of weight. If you are not offered assistance with sustaining a healthy weight, where is the point in dieting?
Because every person has a different personality, distinctive habits and a unique metabolism, it is impossible to make blanket recommendations but changes like walking to buy a paper instead of taking the car, drinking water instead of soft drink and juice, or making use of the stairs instead of the elevator will make a positive difference if combined with healthy food choices. This is where regular consultation with a doctor or nutritionist is necessary.
If your diet plan doesn’t offer a realistic diet that you can follow for a life time, the results will be temporary at best and possibly dangerous to your health. Remember this when considering your next diet plan.