Diet Traps to Avoid
Is that fast-fix diet really safe? Do you want to avoid the diet trap?
- Starving yourself to lose weight. You can lose weight on a very low-calorie diet, but doing so can be dangerous and may result in weight gain as soon as you go off the diet. Losing weight gradually, about one or two pounds a week, is healthier and more likely to last.
- Giving up on a whole food group. For example, low-carb diets suggest that you stop eating all grains.
- Believing that eating a certain food can make you lose weight. For example, eating grapefruit only will burn fat.
- Skipping meals to speed weight loss. In fact, skipping meals can slow your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds.
- Eating all the fat-free foods you want. Although it’s true that a high-fat diet is usually a high-calorie diet, calories count no matter what your meal plan. Compare labels before buying fat-free foods. Often you'll find the fat-free version has as many or even more calories than the regular one.
Plan for Success
Before beginning any weight loss program – diet or exercise – consult your physician first. He or she can explain the benefits and risks involved and work with you or refer you to a dietitian who can establish safe weight loss goals.
Experts say a successful diet plan should include the following steps:
- Keep a food diary. This can give you valuable information about where you're getting the extra calories that are causing your weight gain.
- Add physical activity. Exercise is essential to weight loss and weight maintenance.
Remember, diet traps and unhealthy eating can't safely help you lose weight for the long term. Instead, adopt a sensible weight loss plan that includes balanced meals and exercise, and be patient. You didn't gain the weight overnight, so give yourself time to reach your targeted goal.
Dangers of Detox Diets
Are you carrying around a little extra weight and tempted by diets that promise a quick fix? Be careful, there are potential risks.
Many fad diets, such as detox diets, rise in popularity when they are tied to celebrities who have used them to achieve rapid weight loss. In addition, promoters of detox diets often claim that they offer a variety of health benefits. However, there is no medical research that supports this claim, and diets such as these could put your health at risk.
What Is a Detox Diet?
The term detox is commonly associated with treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, with the goal being to rid the addict's body of alcohol or drugs. With detox diets, the goal is to rid the body of toxins that may cause a wide range of medical ailments (fatigue, headaches, fibromyalgia and more) with weight loss as an added bonus.
Typically, these diets involve seven-to-10-day regimen that includes a period of fasting and a restricted diet – two tactics that can lead to weight loss. Many of these programs include a liquid-based concoction, laxatives and even colon cleansing and enemas to help with the "detox" process. In addition, many detox diets will restrict certain types of food or food groups (no carbs, no fat, no dairy, etc.).
What Are the Dangers?
Most detox diets are composed of very few calories, which can lead to malnutrition, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. Plus, whenever you restrict certain types of foods or food groups you are likely to miss out on many of the key nutrients your body needs for optimum health.
The use of laxatives in these diets can quickly lead to dehydration, which may require medical treatment if it isn't addressed quickly. When dehydration becomes severe, it can lead to kidney failure, seizures, swelling of the brain, coma and even death.
For people prone to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, diets like these that provide few calories or encourage laxative use can be dangerous, too.