36 | Spring 2017
uick-weight-loss or “fad” diets can seem
appealing. We like the idea that we can be
slim and trim with very little time or effort.
Some weight-loss diets may work in the
beginning. This is often because the fad diet helps you
cut calories in one way or another. But many of these
diets restrict certain food groups or promise unrealistic
results. They’re hard — or unhealthy — to sustain over
time. They don’t help you develop a healthy relationship
with food. As soon as you go back to your usual eating
habits, the weight may start piling back on. This often
leads to “yo-yo” dieting: losing and regaining weight over
There is no magic formula for losing weight other than
taking in fewer calories than you burn. The key is to find
a healthy daily eating pattern that keeps you at a healthy
weight and provides the right balance of calories and
nutrition with appropriate amounts of regular physical
activity. This will almost always mean changing your
behavior and making a lifestyle change.
You can recognize a fad diet if it:
• Promises “miracle” foods that burn fat.
• Requires you to eat unusual amounts of only one
food or food type, or to eat specific foods in certain
• Requires rigid menus of a limited number of foods
to be eaten at a specific time of day.
• Promises rapid weight loss of more than two
pounds a week.
• Doesn’t warn those with diabetes or high blood
pressure to seek medical advice before starting
• Doesn’t include energy balance and increased
physical activity as part of the weight-loss plan.
• Doesn’t help you make the transition from weight
loss to weight maintenance.
Choose Nutritious Eating Instead
Instead of a fad diet, follow these simple guidelines to
make good food choices for life.
• Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole-grain
• Choose skinless poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical
vegetable oils and nuts.
• Select lean cuts of meat, but limit your intake.
• Limit saturated fat and trans fat.
• Select low-fat dairy products.
• Limit beverages and foods high in calories and low
in nutrition, such as sugar-sweetened soft drinks
and processed foods with added sugars.
• Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt.
Look for lower sodium options for prepared and
• Drink alcohol only in moderation. Don’t have more
than one drink a day on average if you’re a woman,
or two if you’re a man.
Don’t Be Had By