Do an Internet search for “weight loss,” and you’ll see many websites that promise quick, easy, painless results. The majority of these are for diet fads that will not work for long-term, sustained weight loss, and in some cases, may even be detrimental to your health. In this article, we are going to discuss and debunk a few of the more popular fads.
The first one we’ll look at is the juice/detox cleanse. The cleansing business is booming, promising everything from weight loss to curing diseases. In truth, occasionally juicing can be a time-saving (and delicious) way to get a serving or two of fruits and/or vegetables. However, limiting yourself to only juice for days at a time is not a good idea.
The body wants and expects real food. By juicing your fruits and vegetables, you eliminate the fiber and some of the antioxidants that are found in the skins and seeds of the whole food. This means that the natural sugars are absorbed more quickly, which can be detrimental to people with diabetes. Doing a juice cleanse means you will be drastically lowering your caloric intake. So, yes, you will probably lose weight, but it will be primarily water weight. When you begin eating food again, you will most likely gain it back. Also, by lowering your calories so drastically, you can potentially lower your metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight in the future. Eating meals comprised of quality protein, vegetables, fruits and healthful fats at regular intervals will keep your metabolism functioning properly.
Next, let’s look at low- or no-carb diet plans. This one has gained tremendous popularity in recent years, and the premise is fairly simple. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source – cut the carbs, and your body will burn fat instead, resulting in weight loss. However, there are some risks associated with this type of diet. A diet heavy in protein puts additional strain on the kidneys; for someone with decreased kidney function, this can be very dangerous. In addition, some protein sources, such as fatty cuts of meat, can raise cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease.
According to Ben Greenfield, a leading fitness and nutrition expert, “There can be long-term health issues as your body is chronically carbohydrate-depleted over extended periods of time. Your liver is exposed to extra stress as it is forced to assist with manufacturing glucose from fats and proteins, potentially toxic amounts of ammonia are produced as proteins are converted into glucose, your body has a more difficult time producing mucus, and the immune system becomes impaired as risk of pathogenic infection increases, and your body loses the ability to produce compounds called glycoproteins, which are vital to cellular functions.”
The fact is that any diet requiring you to cut out entire food groups is not sustainable nor healthful. Quality carbohydrates, like vegetables and fruits, are an important part of a healthful diet.
The last fad we are going to discuss is calorie restriction. If you are trying to lose weight, you will most likely be lowering or restricting your caloric intake. Your body weight is determined by the amount of calories you consume through eating and drinking versus the amount of calories you burn through daily activity and exercise. However, lowering your calories too drastically or for an extended period of time can have a negative effect on your health. It can cause lethargy, hair loss and impair cognitive function. It can also cause anxiety and make you irritable. In severe cases, it can lead to life-threatening diseases like anorexia.
Reducing your caloric intake should only be done after consulting with a physician or dietitian who can create a healthful, well-balanced diet plan to ensure you are getting the proper nutrition.
The best way to lose weight is to focus on eating a healthful, well-balanced diet compromised of a variety of foods and incorporating regular exercise into your daily or weekly routine.
Be Well Tips
• Consult a physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise plan.
• Eat real food.
• Eat balanced meals comprised of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthful fats.
• Eat meals at regular intervals.
• Consume the proper amount of calories.
• Incorporate foods from all the food groups.