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Diet fads come and go, and some may help you lose weight - in the short term. The American Dietetic Association says the most effective long-term way to achieve a healthful lifestyle is to be 100% Fad Free.
To put it into a fun perspective, take a look at the "Diet Timeline" which dates all the way back to 1820. When will the madness stop? Let's declare 2007 the year of the Fad Free Diet.
1820 Vinegar and Water Diet
1825 Low Carbohydrate Diet
1830 Graham's Diet
1863 Banting's Low Carbohydrate Diet
1903 Horace Fletcher promotes "Fletcherizing"
1917 Calorie Counting
1925 Cigarette Diet
1928 Inuit Meat-and-Fat Diet
1930 Hay Diet & Dr. Stoll's Diet Aid
1934 Bananas and Skim Milk Diet
1950 Cabbage Soup Diet & Grapefruit Diet/Hollywood Diet
1960 Zen Macrobiotic Diet
1961 Calories Don't Count Diet
1964 Drinking Man's Diet
1970 Sleeping Beauty Diet & Liquid Protein Diets
1981 Beverly Hills Diet
1985 Fit for Life & Caveman Diet
1986 Rotation Diet
1987 Scarsdale Diet
1990 Cabbage Soup Diet
1994 High Protein, Low Carb Diet
1995 Sugar Busters - Cut Sugar to Trim Fat
1996 Eat Right for Your Type
1999 Juice, Fasting and Detoxification
2000 Raw Foods Diet
2001 High Protein, Low Carb Diet (1994 diet updated)
2004 Coconut Diet
2005 Cheater's Diet
2006 Maple Syrup Diet
2007 ? The Fad Free Diet ?
Certainly, some of these are more extreme and absurd than others. All of them may work in the short term because they restrict calories to less than what your body requires. "You can lose weight on virtually any diet," said registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Roberta Anding. "If you eat less, you will lose weight. The question is, can you maintain a healthy lifestyle over the long term - your life? With these fad diets, the answer is NO. The real key to reaching long-term goals is to focus on your overall health."
Here are some tips to help you be fad-free:
- Develop an eating plan for lifelong health. This is something that will last way beyond losing the "extra" weight or that important event - it is the rest of your life.
- Focus on food that exists in nature - apples, broccoli and nuts versus pre-packaged meals, diet-drinks, or nutritional bars.
- Choose foods sensibly by looking at the big picture. A single food or meal won't make or break a healthful diet. When consumed in moderation in appropriate portions, all foods can fit into a healthful diet.
- Learn how to spot a food fad. Unreasonable or exaggerated claims that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrient supplements or combinations of foods may cure disease or offer quick weight loss are key features of fad diets.
- Find your balance between food and physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness plus it helps control body weight, promotes a feeling of well-being and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
ADA's website (www.eatright.org) features additional tools and strategies to stay fad free, including mouth-watering recipes, nutrition information, and how to locate a registered dietitian in your area.