Weight loss and fad diets

Do you have goals coming upon bathing suit season? How will you go about reaching those weight loss goals? Perhaps search the Internet for the latest diet, or maybe cut out all carbs or desserts, or how about tracking your daily intake and staying below the recommended caloric allowance on your tracking app. What is the best way to lose weight quick enough to stick to it, but to also be able to stick to it long enough to actually reap the benefits of changing your habits? Is it the latest diet?

weight scaleChances are that latest diet is a fad diet, something that promises quick results at often extreme costs and many times is not able to be followed for an extended period of time due to harsh or even unhealthy restrictions. Fad diets are found everywhere; they’re glorified all over social media, discussed in everyday conversations and promoted by self-proclaimed nutrition and health experts. Fad diets vary from low to no carbohydrate diets, cleanses, very low calorie diets and avoiding foods or food groups, they also frequently include dietary supplements or herbs. Over $2.4 billion is spent annually on weight loss products and diets, yet nearly 34 percent of the U.S. population is considered obese, and that number is climbing. Maybe those weight loss methods don’t work.

Why are fad diets so tempting?
-Thirty-four percent of Americans are considered obese. Obesity comes with higher risk of a variety of chronic diseases that affect one’s quality of life, lifespan and risk of developing additional diseases (3).
-For some people, lifelong habits lead to obesity. It’s not easy or quick to change those habits. But, our society craves fast results. Products with claims including better energy, rapid weight loss, etc. entice people who may feel like they have no other way to reach their (or their doctor’s or their family members’) health goals.
-Some people may not have the proper tools or know how on how to make changes that will last a lifetime.
-Some people may not want to change their lifestyle, so a diet that promises weight loss in a few short weeks or months seems more reasonable.
-Media portrayal of what we “should” look like has lead many to be insecure in their skin.
-Gripping advertising, big and exciting claims, as well as spokespeople who embody what prospective clients want to look like all pull consumers in who may fit into the aforementioned categories.

As noted above, one of the paramount factors of a fad diet is that they are not sustainable and therefore often lead to regaining weight, on the other hand, strictly following a restrictive diet long term can also cause health problems, even malnutrition.

How to spot a fad diet:
1. It sounds too good to be true (i.e.: it sounds very easy to follow), it is likely not effective.measuring tape
2. Terms such as “magic” are used. Nothing about the methods of weight loss is magical. You can’t get big results from sitting on your couch and eating potato chips all the time.
3. Herbs or drugs are touted, especially when they’re the practitioner’s brand.
4. It claims rapid weight loss (rapid weight loss is often achieved by making drastic eating and/or exercise changes, which are typically not as sustainable).
5. Rigid menus (like the previous red flag).
6. Quantities of foods are recommended, or foods/food groups are restricted (eating more fruits and vegetables are typically good, but if it touts a particular vegetable or restricts grains for example-probably not good).
7. A certain amount of weight loss is promised within a particular time frame.
8. Finally, it bases effectiveness solely on quotes from other dieters.

Many people are aware of basic nutritional principles, if a particular diet includes recommendations that are far from those principles, be wary of it’s effectiveness, safety and/or ability to be maintained for an extended period of time. I mean we’re rooting for lifestyle changes, not short term dieting after all (4, 5, 6).

What credible websites and blogs will include:
1. Clearly identifiable purpose.
2. Identities of who runs the site.
3. Names writers or editors AND lists credentials (for dietary advice, the gold standard in the U.S. is a registered dietitian notated as: R.D., RDN).
4. Facts and cited sources are included, not just opinions (if someone says that xyz is what happens to your body when you do xyz, or research shows that xyz…If they don’t cite it, it may very well not be real).
5. It contains links to other credible sites (hospitals, universities, national disease organizations).
6. Provides guidelines on how to use new information (4, 5, 6).

If a diet requires you to completely cut out foods that you enjoy, and that you are not allergic to or that make you sick, it likely won’t stick. Consider reducing your intake of a food you enjoy but may be higher in fat and calories than you’d like. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian to determine if a diet is a good fit for you and if it has been proven to be safe and effective.

HealthFeed

HEARTH HEALTH=EYE HEALTH
Heart in Hands1
You’ve probably heard a lot of news about eating right for a healthy heart—focusing on a diet low in fat and abundant in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But did you know that the same nutrients are also good for your eyes? Read the full story here.

HOME REMEDIES TO SOOTHE A SORE THROAT
sore-throat
You wake up with a scratchy, dry and irritated throat. “A sore throat could be caused by a number of things from dry air to acid reflux to a cold or virus,” says Johanna Greenberg, a physician assistant specializing in family medicine at University of Utah Health Care’s Stansbury Health Center, located in Tooele County. Click here to read the four at-home treatments to try.

For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.

MEAL PLANNING: ONE OF THE BEST TOOLS FOR EATING HEALTHY

Meal planning may seem daunting, it may seem very time consuming, and may seem difficult. But taking some time to organize your meals for the week can save time throughout the week, save money, reduce waste and make it easier to eat healthier and get your vegetables in. Trust me, I’ve done it.

There are a few ways to meal plan. Depending on your needs, you should find some combination of these to make dinners easier, cheaper and tastier. You can choose which meals you’ll have for the week, you can make one base food and repurpose it into different dishes. You can actually prep lots of the food on a certain day and throw it together day-by-day. There are lots of ways to make it work.

Considerations when meal planning:

-Know how many meals and for how many people.
-Time constraints and timing. Will there be someone 60-90 minutes before dinner to prepare the meal? Or will it need to be a slow cooker meal or 30-minute meal?
-What you already have in the fridge and pantry. I hate wasting food, planning meals based on what I need to use up leads to less waste and fewer random nasty meals that use a ton of said soon to be spoiled food
-Food budget/sale items.
-Have kids? Let them participate. They can help choose meal ideas, help shop, help prep and help cook. Kids are more likely to try new foods and like something if they’ve had a part in making it.

How to meal plan:

1. Tally your meals (4 dinners, 2 lunches).
2. Note your constraints. Do you have to have a slow cooker meal one day because you’ll be at the office until 7 p.m.? Will you need something quick or portable?
3. Consider leftovers. Does your meal plan for more servings than you have eaters? Take a day out of the mix and allow for straight leftovers or repurposing those leftovers. This is a great way to reduce waste and save money.

Not sure how to meal plan still, take this quick food personality quiz.

Here are some great resources for basic recipes, how to be a master meal planner, meal planning for beginners and delicious family dinners for weeknights.

References:

  1. Engle M.K. Protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. (2014). Federal Trade Commission. Washington, D.C. Accessed on 7 December 2014: http://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements/316321/140617falsedecepweightloss.pdf.
  2. Federal Trade Commission. Complaint for permanent injunction and other equitable relief.
  3. Accessed on 7 December 2014: http://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/cases/140107hcgcmpt.pdf
  4. National Institutes of Health. What are the health risks of overweight and obesity? 2012. Accessed on 7 December 2014: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/risks
  5. Liu T, Howard RM, Mancini AJ, et al. Kwashiorkor in the United States: Fad diets, perceived and true milk allergy, and nutritional ignorance. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(5):630-636. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Dermatol.-ISSN-0003-987x-137-5-dob0016 http://archderm.jamanetwork.com.ezproxy.lib.utah.edu/article.aspx?articleid=478323
  6. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Web of confusion. 2012. Accessed 7 December 2014. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442473826&terms=fad%20diets
  7. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Q&A: How can I spot a fad diet? Accessed 7 December 2014. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442451859&terms=fad%20diets
  8. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Staying away from fad diets. 2012. Accessed 7 December 2014. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6851&terms=fad%20diets