Fad diets fade quickly
By Karen caffarini For Sun-Times Media
Knows food: Carol Bliznik, a registered dietitian at Franciscan St. Anthony Health - Crown Point, said an ideal meal consists of a plate that is half-filled with vegetables, one-quarter with lean meat or other protein, and one-quarter with whole grain starches. | Supplied photo
Like disco in the 1970s, leg warmers in the ‘80s and “the Rachel” hair style in the ‘90s, fads in diets come and go.
People quickly become bored with the latest trend and find a new, better option, or, in the case of diets, just go back to their old eating habits, causing them to gain the pounds back that they had just lost, and possibly more.
“A fad diet promotes rapid weight loss, a dramatic change, without doing much. These diets greatly limit the amount of a certain food you can eat, or eliminate it entirely. They say you need no exercise to lose weight,” said Carol Bliznik, a registered dietitian at Franciscan St. Anthony Health - Crown Point.
Whether your diet includes eliminating all carbohydrates from your meal, drastically cutting your fat intake or limiting your meals to meat only, you could lose a significant amount of weight quickly, Bliznik said. Keeping the pounds off is another matter, however.
She said a person can’t sustain these diets for any period of time, and, in general, gets bored with them very quickly.
“That’s the whole point. These are just fads; they’re not there to stay,” she said.
That could be a good thing. Bliznik said some of the fad diets, if followed for long periods, could cause health risk problems.
A better alternative, which would lead to longer lasting and healthier results, is a mix of increased activity and a balanced diet that includes all the food groups, Bliznik said.
She said this combination would result in a weight loss of one to two pounds per week, not six to eight pounds as some fad diets claim.
Some health and fitness magazines have touted eating just snacks of nuts, vegetables and fruits throughout the day rather than full meals, but Bliznik recommends at least three regular meals a day.
“You can work in nourishing snacks, but you need to have the core meals to fill you up,” the dietitian said.
She said some people eat six small meals a day; others eat three meals with a couple of snacks in-between. In either case, she recommends adding more fruits and vegetables to the beginning of the meals, which can take the edge off the more caloric items later in the meal.
Bliznik said an ideal meal should include a plate that is half-filled with vegetables, one-quarter lean meat or other protein, and one-quarter whole grain starches.
She said people shouldn’t go for long periods without eating and they shouldn’t skip breakfast. In fact, many people who successfully lose weight start the day with a breakfast consisting of protein and a low-sugar, low-fat yogurt, which she said will stay with you longer than an orange or toast.
Do’s and don’ts
Bliznik doesn’t recommend toxic cleansing diets that have become all the rage among some celebrities, saying they could deplete necessary fluids and electrolytes. As for going vegan, she said the diet could be a very healthy one, provided the dieters know the right combinations so they get all the amino acids they need.
“People need to do their homework before they embark on a vegan diet,” she said.
As for the other side of the weight-loss equation, Bliznik said people should do some form of activity at least 30 minutes a day, adding it doesn’t have to be all at one time. You could exercise for 10 or 15 minutes at a time at different times during the day. She suggested doing the activities at least a few times during the week.
A few other suggestions by Bliznik to take and keep the weight off:
Get a good support group to help you stick with the diet
If you don’t understand a diet as outlined in a book, seek help from a dietitian or other professional
Find alternatives to food to cope with stress, which can sometimes lead to mindless eating