How to Tell a Good Diet from a Bad One

Every month popular magazines tout new and amazing ways to lose weight. Advertisements promote diet pills and supplements. All claim to be the best/newest/fastest method for losing weight. Convincing endorsements makes these diets seem legitimate and worth trying. It's important that you know which diets are good and which are potentially dangerous.

Diets to Watch Out For

    1) No scientific basis for success

The grapefruit diet has been around for over a generation. It claims that grapefruits are natural fat burners, but this has never been proven scientifically. Yes, grapefruit is a healthy and low calorie source of vitamin C, but there’s no evidence that eating half of a grapefruit at every meal will burn fat. Same with the soup diet or the lemon juice diet; they're too good to be true.

    2) Extremely low calorie (check out our low calorie food list)

Extreme diets with very low caloric intake and little protein may cause rapid weight loss, but the weight won’t stay off. Without adequate protein the body will lose muscle tissue, slowing the rate at which the body burns calories, which in turn results in weight gain.

    3) No exercise required

Losing weight requires exercise and effort. Don’t believe any claims that you can lose weight and keep it off without getting up from your recliner.

    4) Eliminating food groups

A well-balanced diet is essential for healthy weight loss and weight maintenance. Diets that focus on one or two types of food and eliminate any of the basic food groups are not healthy and will eventually backfire.

    5) Detoxification diets
These can be potentially dangerous. The body has its own organs for removing toxins. If these organs aren’t doing their jobs, you need a doctor, not a diet.


Diets that Do Work

Regular physical activity and a healthy balanced diet are the cornerstones of any good weight loss program. A safe and healthy program will result in slow and steady weight loss after an initial period of more rapid loss.

Here are some examples of well-known diets with well-documented results

    1) Low Carbohydrate Diet

Low carb diets focus on proteins and good carbohydrates, and does not pay as much attention to vegetables and fruits. It doesn't mean to eliminate fruits and veggies in exchange for bacon and more bacon. The low carb diet is about kicking out refined carbs, super high fatty foods and replacing them with natural complex carbs and quality meats.

    2) The Holford Diet

Patrick Holford takes a different approach, emphasizing lean meats and vegetables – lots of vegetables.  Forget 5-a-day, the Holford diet pretty much specifies that most of your food intake should be fruits and vegetables.  This diet supposedly helps you lose weight quickly, and stay healthy.

    3) Jenny Craig Diet

The beauty of a diet system like Jenny Craig is that it takes a lot of the thought out of dieting. You are told what to eat and when, which is great, especially when you have a lot of weight to lose and you are just beginning to make a healthy change for the better. This can help people keep from becoming overwhelmed and giving up on their weight loss goals.

Small changes can make a big difference. One dieter lost weight simply by changing from whole milk to reduced fat milk. Small successes encourage people to continue their weight management regimens. On the other hand, complicated dieting rules and unrealistic expectations often lead to frustration and failure.

By following a weight loss program based on physical activity and healthy eating, dieters learn how to make healthy food choices and how to integrate weight management into their daily routines. Slow and steady changes in behavior mark success. After all, weight management is a lifelong process, not a quick fix.

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