Can Fad Diets Work?
Many dieters are still trying to find the magic bullet to weight loss. WebMD gets the skinny from experts on the latest quick-fix diets.
Fat Smash Diet continued...
While there may be some credibility to the "jump start" that dieters
can get from an initial quick-loss phase of a weight
loss regimen, most successful diet plans are designed for gradual
weight loss and modified behavior, says Robert Eckel, MD, president of the
American Heart Association (AHA).
"If you're healthy, a quick, short-term weight loss -- perhaps motivated
by a special event, like a wedding or reunion -- is not likely to be
harmful," says Eckel. "In the long run, however, most such plans are
fairly extreme and hard to adhere to."
Recognizing this, the AHA has claimed its own bookshelf space with the
American Heart Association No-Fad Diet: A Personal Plan for Healthy Weight
Loss. The program promotes healthy eating choices, increased physical
activity, tips for maintaining your success, and advice on creating a healthy
eating environment for the entire family. Through questionnaires that help
users identify what kind of dieter they are, the plan offers three different
options that make it "user friendly," says Eckel.
Make Healthy Choices
Healthy people can probably begin most weight
loss programs on their own, Eckel advises. If you have any existing
illness, however, he cautions that you see your doctor first. That advice is
reiterated by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), which strongly
recommends that people with diabetes avoid fad diets, such as those that
promote extreme low-carbohydrate or high-protein intake.
In the September issue of Diabetes Care, Ann Albright, PhD, RD,
writes, "There is no evidence that these diets are successful at helping
people keep weight off once they lose it, and there are ample concerns about
the fiber, vitamins, and minerals people give up when they severely restrict
their diet, say, by sharply limiting carbohydrate intake.
"Fad diets come and go," continues Albright, who is ADA
president-elect for Health Care and Education. "We want people to be
provided with sound nutrition advice
that will help them in making choices for maintaining good health for the long
"While fad diets may take the weight off, they don't teach you how to
keep it off," emphasizes Steagall. "Remember, you're learning a way to
live, not just a way to diet.
"To keep the weight off, you must stay motivated," Steagall adds.
"Successful weight control depends upon you -- not upon any particular
product or program, no matter who is promoting it or how glamorous it appears
on the surface. 'All that glitters is not gold.'"