Are you choosing a diet for disaster?
Friday 29 May, 2015 by Alison
Shed kilos fast! We've all heard the promises that many diets tend to make,
but in reality most popular diets are destined to fail.
Despite this, new
research has found that many of us are getting sucked in by fad diet claims.
A LiveLighter survey found that more than 80% of Victorian
dieters aged 25–49 are choosing popular or fad diets over more sustainable,
evidence-based, methods of achieving a healthy weight.
sensible approach of eating a healthy balanced diet and doing regular exercise
is losing out to diets that force us to cut out fat or sugar, fast for two days
a week or eat like cavemen.
The survey also
found that 55% of Victorians who were currently on a diet or who had been on a
diet in the past, said they were ‘always' or ‘often' on a diet.
So how do you break
the cycle of fad diets and give yourself the best chance of reaching a healthy
Knowing how to spot a fad diet can help. Fad
diets usually have some or all of the following characteristics:
- promise a quick fix
- promote 'magic' foods or combinations of foods,
- imply that food can change body chemistry,
- exclude or severely restrict food groups or
nutrients (such as carbohydrates or fat),
- have rigid rules that focus on weight loss and/or
make claims based on a single study or testimonials only.
So before you start your next
diet ask yourself these questions. They could help you avoid disappointment and
reach your healthy weight goals sooner:
your diet teach you to eat healthily?
If you follow a diet and don't
learn how to eat healthy in the long run, you won't be better off in the end.
If you do use a diet to lose weight, try and pick one that teaches you about
what foods contain, and gives you the flexibility to choose what you eat. A
diet that gives you advice around portion sizes is also a great option.
some foods or food groups forbidden?
If the diet is very restrictive
or bans certain foods, it is likely to fail. When we're told we can't have
something we end up craving it, even if it wasn't desired in the first place.
Avoid this by steering clear of plans or diets with lots of restrictions. You
might lose weight in the first few weeks, but then put it back on when the
limitations become hard to stick to.
it promise rapid weight loss?
If a diet promises fast weight
loss, steer clear. Losing more than 1-2kg per week is hard to sustain because
you need to eat very small amounts to lose weight that quickly. You'll also
miss out on important nutrients. Avoid diets where you can only drink but not
eat, or where expensive herbal medicine, diet pills or supplements are
required, as these will be hard to maintain.
there rigid meal plans?
Sticking to a list of specific meals is
boring and doesn't allow for creativity or flexibility. For example if you have
a birthday party to attend, does the meal plan give advice for what to eat on
that day, or does it insist you stick to the meal plan? Think about if you really
want to eat the same soup every day for a month or have eggs three times a day?
Regardless of what
diet is doing the rounds, a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and
vegetables and watching your portion sizes is always the healthiest and most
effective way to get all your nutrients and achieve your healthy weight – and keeping the weight off.
To learn more check
out these resources from LiveLighter:
Alison Ginn is the LiveLighter Program Manager and an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.