The Truth About Fad Diets

So What Does Work?

While each person is different in terms of how much they can eat and still lose weight (as well as how much they need to exercise), the simple answer is that slow and steady wins the race. The truth is that the quick-fix fad diets don't really work to help you keep the weight off for the long haul. If a diet really did work, everyone would be on it and stay on it. So what does work?
 
Most of the research has found that eating a balanced diet that contains fewer calories than you burn off each day, along with a regular exercise routine, is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Although it sounds simple enough, it takes determination, willpower, and perseverance. A weight loss of one to two pounds each week is doable, safe, and can help you keep the weight off. This gradual weight loss is also a good way to help give you the time to make this eating plan and exercise routine part of your daily lifestyle.
 
So toss out any quick-fix and bizarre fad diets and stick to what has shown to be effective -- eating a variety of healthy foods; exercising for at least 30 minutes, five times a week; and watching your portion sizes. There are also some helpful tips to help you optimize your metabolism, such as eating several small meals a day and knowing how to make the most out of your calories (see Weight Loss and Your Metabolism).
 
Rather than trying another fad diet, maybe try throwing out the term "diet" altogether and think about it as a new way of life -- eating and exercising, not only to lose weight, but also to be healthy and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and various other problems (see Why Is Exercise Important?).
 
If you do need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about how to determine how many calories you need to consume each day and how much exercise you need to lose one to two pounds a week.
 
Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of a new fad diet, try some of these easy tips to help you lose weight and see lasting results:
 
  • Eat a variety of foods each day, including lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
 
  • Don't cut out fat completely from your daily calories, as some fat is necessary and important for your body to function properly. However, know how to pick "good fats" over the "bad fats" (see Low Fat Versus Fat Free).
 
  • Watch your portion sizes and check how many calories are in each serving.
 
  • Avoid processed foods and junk foods, such as chips, cookies, and sweets.
 
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently to help keep your metabolism running at optimal speed.
 
  • If you feel hungry, eat some nuts or other high-protein foods, as they will help you feel fuller faster and satisfy your hunger for a longer time than many other foods.
 
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