Beware the fad diet

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Updated Jun 27, 2014

Healthy Obsession

From counting calories to cutting carbs to searching high and low for low-fat and low-sodium foods, I’ve tested — unsuccessfully — many fad diets.

I’ve lost weight more than once while on these diets. Zero pounds to 20 pounds, the end result is always the same – I gain all that weight back, and sometimes plus some.

If you have read about these diets, or even tried them yourself, you may know what I’m talking about. Some people do lose weight and keep it off, too. But when you read article after article about how these diets couldn’t possibly lead to a healthy, long-term eating plan, you have to wonder if they work. And the answer, for me, is a resounding, “No!”

People often look to fad diets for quick weight loss. If you have been advised by your doctor to drop a few pounds to reduce immediate risk of heart attack or other health problems, then your doctor should have advice about how to do that. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Let your doctor counsel you.

If you do, however, decide to try out a fad diet, take these things to heart:

• Do your research: Search online for information about the diet, or purchase a book about it. Know exactly what it entails. Some diets seem quite manageable, but something like the Paleolithic diet requires a huge lifestyle change you may not be ready for.

• During: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results, and don’t make extreme choices that could cause harm to your body. Always consult with your doctor about changes to diet and exercise.

• Afterward: Have a plan for returning to “normal.” Many diets require you follow a strict eating regimen until you reach your desired weight. But then what? Plan ahead of time which foods you will allow back into your daily diet, and come to terms with those you’ll have to treat as an occasional indulgence.

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