Lose Weight Safely by Avoiding Fad Diets
Year after year, one of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to lose weight. Experts agree that there is only one proven way to achieve this, which is to burn more calories than you eat. But this doesn't stop the increasing popularity of fad diets, which often promise quick results with little effort and no negative side effects.
Indeed, visiting the diet section at the bookstore could make you believe that there are countless tricks to lose weight, but many fad diets just don't work. And some diets can threaten your short- and long-term health.
For example, many popular fad diets stress protein – such as eggs, meat and cheese – and limit carbohydrates, such as fruit and grains. The idea is that avoiding carbs adjusts your metabolism and spurs weight loss.
High-protein, low-carb diets can help you lose weight quickly, but the price may be high. In the short-term, these diets can tax your kidneys and make you dehydrated, dizzy and queasy. In just 4 weeks, your cholesterol levels could rise. Eventually, you may be at risk for heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. And most people grow tired of these diets and regain the lost weight.
A variation of the high-protein program is the anti-sugar diet. These diets say that sugar is toxic and forbid white rice, potatoes, carrots and other starchy vegetables. But experts say that avoiding these foods can rob your body of the carbohydrates needed for energy. And tossing aside veggies deprives your body of fiber and antioxidants. Finally, because you're going without so many foods, you'll probably grow tired of the diet and reject it.
The same drawbacks are part of diets that emphasize just one food. These diets are based on the notion that certain foods burn fat. But, in reality, there's no such thing as a food that burns fat. Plus, eating one food constantly means missing out on other nutrients.
Consider these ways to lose weight safely:
- Aim for a high-carb, high-fiber and low-calorie diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains.
- Limit total fat intake to between 20 and 35% of your daily calories.
- Get 60 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Walking and cycling are good choices.
Finally, it's important to view your weight loss goal as a long-term change towards a healthier lifestyle with lasting health benefits that far “outweigh” what you see on the scale.
Before starting a weight loss program, talk to your doctor if you:
- Plan to lose more than 15 pounds
- Have any health problems
- Take medication regularly
Source: Krames Staywell
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