Say No to Fad Diets

Man standing on scale

In the last 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in the percentage of individuals who are obese. This problem is occurring not only in North America, but also in many other countries where Westernized dietary patterns are increasing in popularity. This wasn’t obvious to me until I started traveling and noticed that McDonald’s could be found in almost every country! Taking into account our current obesity trends and the fact that everyone’s New Years resolution is to lose weight – I thought this would be a good time to give you the skinny on fad diets.

Thanks to Kate Middleton and her infamous Dukan Diet, fad diets are officially up and running, but don’t be fooled - they don’t work and will only shrink your wallet not your waistline. First of all, diets that promise a weekly weight loss cannot guarantee that the weight loss is from adipose tissue (fat)…when you deprive your body of energy or calories, lean tissue (muscle) and water will account for the major part of the weight loss – sorry!  Also, don’t forget that muscle weighs more than fat, so when you’re thinking that the number on the scale looks good – it’s actually muscle.

These cruel diets set the dieter up to fail because habits are not changed and the food selection is so limited that the person cannot follow the diet for long periods of time. Initially, the number on the scale will decrease, but like I said before, the weight loss is due to a loss in mostly muscle, other lean tissue mass and water. Once the dieter starts eating ‘normally’ the weight will return in a matter of weeks because they have basically starved themselves while on the diet. Plus, the dieter will feel like a failure and therefore guilty…this is horrible, so stop this vicious cycle before it begins. According to the American Dietetic Association stay away from a diet that:

  • Promises a quick fix
  • Sounds too good to be true
  • Makes recommendations to sell a product

Here are some good healthy goals for the New Year:

  • Eat breakfast (and no coffee doesn’t count)
  • Eat more fish (2x/week), fruits, vegetables, and fibre
  • Have a physical activity plan
  • And treat yourself to your favourite dessert once a week

Image courtesy of puuikibeach