Get Realistic: Forget the Fad Diets
Nutrition experts are not surprised most people stray from unrealistic, quick-fix fad diets as quickly as they begin one.
diets often severely limit the foods we eat, knocking out entire food
groups in the quest for the fastest results,” says Ruth Carey,
MS, LD, a nutrition consultant in Portland, Ore., and immediate past
chair of Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, a dietetic
practice group of the American Dietetic Association. “That
creates two problems. The first is it’s just not a realistic way
to eat for the rest of your life. The second is you may be missing out
on essential nutrients your body needs.”
High Protein Mania
recent fad diets to promise quick weight loss are the high-protein,
low-carbohydrate diets. Like other diets, high-protein,
low-carbohydrate diets cause weight loss quickly because of fluid
losses and because they provide fewer calories than the body needs.
experts recognize eating some protein and fat at a meal can help
satisfy hunger and control blood sugar rise following a meal. However,
successful long-term weight loss plans incorporate antioxidant-rich
fruits and vegetables, and fiber-rich whole grains, in addition to lean
meats, poultry or fish and low-fat dairy products.
people on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets realize they
haven’t picked up realistic long-term eating habits for weight
control and for life. Monitoring portion sizes of a wide variety of
foods from all groups, for example, is a more realistic goal,”
A Simple Solution
shows those successful at maintaining a healthy weight for the
long-term establish realistic goals and enjoy a variety of foods. Doing
that may be as simple as remembering the concept you (or your kids)
learned in school — the Food Guide Pyramid.
Department of Agriculture’s (U.S.D.A.) Food Guide Pyramid
illustrates that variety is important for good health, with each food
group maintaining nutrients that are not available in other groups.
When trying to lose weight, you should eat the lower end of the range
for recommended servings.
Carey offers the following new food ideas based on the Food Guide Pyramid to get you started on a plan to eat better:
Meat Group (2-3 servings):
Cutting back on calories and fat doesn’t mean you’re
limited to chicken breast anymore. In fact, according to the U.S.D.A.,
pork tenderloin has the same amount of calories as skinless chicken
breast and only one more gram of fat per serving.
Dairy Group (2-3 servings):
Low-fat and fat-free milk products have all the same nutrients as whole
milk, yet with less fat and calories. Try reduced-fat cheese or pudding
made with fat-free milk.
Fruit (2-4 servings) and Vegetable (3-5 servings) Groups:
Today’s supermarkets stock an array of exotic fruits and
vegetables from around the world. Get your fill of nutrients and
challenge your tastebuds by trying something different like papaya,
star fruit, endive or jicama.
Grain Group (6-11 servings):
With the increased popularity of ethnic foods, getting your grains is
easier and more exciting than ever before. Try fun-shaped pastas like
fusilli (twisted spaghetti) and farfalle (bow ties), or unique grains
such as couscous or quinoa. To fill up on fewer calories, add
high-fiber options like bran cereals or wild rice.