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9 Signs You’re on a Fad Diet

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5. You’re always hungry.

Women need at least 1,200 calories a day, and men, 1,400. Any less than that, and you may have trouble meeting your nutritional needs. Also, fatigue, constipation, nausea, or vomiting may set in.

Plus, depriving yourself of food “physically and psychologically sets you up for bingeing,” Cohn says. A smart diet will suggest eating nutrient-rich foods and limiting fat while paying attention to portion sizes.

6. There’s fine print.

Take disclaimers in ads seriously. “Most programs that emphasize ‘too good to be true’ results will have potential side effects, or the results may only apply to a few people," Cohn says.

Don’t put stock in “before and after” photos either. “Pictures are easy to manipulate,” Cohn says.

7. It benches exercise.

Cutting calories will help you lose weight, but being active is essential for keeping it off. Research shows that people who are successful at keeping weight off get an hour or more of moderate exercise on most days. But you don't have to do it all at once. You can spread your activity throughout the day.

“Be careful with any diet that doesn’t promote obvious healthy lifestyle practices like exercise,” Cohn says.

8. You’re constantly running to the bathroom.

If you’re experiencing loose bowel movements every few hours, don’t assume “toxins” are leaving your body and this is normal -- or beneficial. “It’s a sign you are not getting adequate nutrition or staying hydrated,” Smith says.

9. You're asked to invest in supplements, herbs, pills, or patches.

There is no magic formula to make you drop extra weight. Many diet aids are not proven. So save your money and get back to the basics. “Long-term weight loss won’t come from following a trend, but making lifestyle changes that can be maintained,” Smith says.

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Reviewed on June 30, 2014

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