Fad Diets: Fruitful Or Folly?


By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) “Eat whatever you want, and you'll still lose weight!” If you've tried to diet, you know that's not true.

What's the latest diet fad? It seems like there's something new every week.

The Atkins diet tells you not to eat carbohydrates. Vegetarian diets promote not eating meat. And of course the fat-free trend has been around for years.

Gillian Funk, Health and Fitness Director at the YMCA, says, "People don't realize when they take these extreme fad diets, they actually use some of their muscle mass, too. So you lose weight, but you're losing some muscle. What happens when they gain it back, is they don't gain muscle, they gain fat pounds back."

In the short run, fad diets can help you lose weight, that's for sure. But the problem is, you can't permanently stay away from the foods you're avoiding.

David Hall, Clinical Nutrition Team Leader at St. Luke's Magic Valley, says, "People can go on them, they can have success, they can lose weight. The problem is, as they progress down, in six months to a year, they start to get those cravings back for the food that they are missing."

Hall points out that plant-based food like fruits and vegetables and whole grains are best for you. He explains if you do eat meat, do it sparingly, and eat lean cuts. Also consume moderate amounts of dairy products, and make sure they have reduced fat content.

In the end, diet, exercise, or both – not an imaginary magic pill – will help get you to your goal, by changing your eating habits, instead of the short term temporary solution of fad diets.

Hall says, "Definitely going to extremes is going to be more detrimental to your health than improving your life a little bit at a time."

Funk says, "Everyone has a different body shape. Something's going to work for one person that's not going to work for the other. Just finding that balance between exercise and healthy food."

October 31, 2013.

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