Fad Diets Not Always Healthiest

Erica Jeffreys
The Daily Reveille

Each year, people around the country try whichever new fad diet has become popular, all in an attempt to lose some extra pounds. But experts say there are numerous schemes to try and make unsuspecting victims believe one magical diet will work for them.

According to the Medline Plus Web site, people who can maintain a fad diet for more than a few weeks may lose some weight initially, but questions remain about their ability to keep it off.

Doctors contributing to the Medline Plus site said many people return to their old eating habits, which were responsible for the weight gain in the first place.

But with a steady stream of dieting options available, students may become confused about which program best suits their needs.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is recommended that most of a person’s daily food intake come from carbohydrates. The department’s recommendations also suggest eating three to five vegetable servings, two to four fruit servings, two to three dairy servings and two to three servings of meat, eggs and nuts.

But, several weight loss programs do not factor in the need for many of those foods. For example, the popular Atkins diet focuses on cutting carbohydrates, which are needed for the body to maintain energy.

“Diets that overemphasize one particular food or food group are usually grossly unbalanced nutritionally and leave out a major component of any weight loss or maintenance plan, which is exercise,” the Medline Plus Web site said.

In addition, dieting is not something that only can be done for a limited time. To be effective, dieting needs to be a lifestyle change. In the past, diets were focused on not eating enough, but today’s diets have a different focus.

“Today’s new breed of diets — including the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, and Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Loss Solution — are not starvation diets like fad diets of past, said Samantha Heller of the medical Web site WebMD. “The reality is that these diets are hard to stick to. Some are unhealthy, and some are very expensive to follow.”

Although fad diets come and go, some basic healthy habits do not change.

“It is more important to exercise and watch your food portions than to follow a fad diet,” said Melinda Rome, a dietetics sophomore.

Many experts also agree that the secret to weight loss simly is exercising regularly and eating healthy.