Weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle is a huge focus in our world today. Unlimited sources of information are available to us in just seconds from so called “experts” - have you ever wondered if the promised claims are a reality? Nutrition and weight loss information can be confusing but the bottom line is that if a diet or weight loss product sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
The truth is, there is no pill or food that can magically “melt away the fat” and no one can “eat as much as you want and still lose weight, without exercising”. Diet plans or weight loss products promising big claims such as these are what we like to call fad diets. In order to help you steer clear of fad diets, look for these red flag claims:
Speedy Weight Loss or Quick Fixes to Being Overweight- Weight loss products or diets that promise big weight loss results in a small amount of time can be unhealthy or even false. Slow weight loss over time is more likely to provide you with a weight change that you are able to manage and sustain long-term. Diets that promote an initial rapid weight loss often result in regaining the weight and sometimes gaining back even more. Also, rapid weight loss is typically a loss of water weight or muscle mass which can be harmful to your overall health. A registered dietitian (RD) can help you create a healthy eating plan that will allow for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.
No Need to Exercise- Advertisements that claim there is no reason to exercise to lose weight and be healthy are wrong! Regular physical activity is essential for good health and wellbeing and is a key component for those trying to lose weight. For some, it can be hard to fit long durations of physical activity into busy schedules. The key to exercise and regular physical activity is to find something that you enjoy doing and aim for 30-60 minutes on most days of the week. An exercise physiologist can be a great resource to aid you in finding exercises and plan that works and fits into your life!
Rigid or Strict Menus- A meal plan or diet that is very limiting or rigid can be overwhelming and set us up for failure. Changes in the way we eat should focus on creating a lifestyle change. When starting a new plan, ask yourself, “can I eat this way for the rest of my life?” or “can I incorporate this style of eating into my daily routine” if the answer is no, then that plan is not for you. Weight loss can already be stressful, and strict or rigid plans can add to that stress and result in failure. An RD can help you create a flexible meal plan that meets your specific needs. (Helpful Hint: a therapist is a great resource to help with stress management during your weight loss journey.)
The Magic Pill to Make You ‘Skinny’- proceed with high caution when you are considering a supplement or diet pill that is promising you big results. There are many weight loss supplements or diet pills available to consumers that have limited research proving their effectiveness and are not backed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If you are looking for a weight loss medication, consult with a physician!
Exclusion of Specific Foods or Food Groups- Many fad diets have you exclude certain foods or even food groups. For example, a “zero carbohydrate diet”. However, this type of dieting could be detrimental to health and set you up for further disordered eating. Diets that require the exclusion of specific foods or food groups can also cause deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals.
Fad diets will offer many attractive weight loss claims so proceed with carefulness and use good judgement before starting any new weight loss regimens. It is a fact that fad diets are not the best way to lose weight and keep the weight off. Research shows that safe and effective weight loss involves combining a reduced calorie diet with physical activity to lose weight gradually over time.