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Fad diets, nutrition myths and misinformation abound. Special diets, dietary supplements and “magic” foods promising quick and easy remedies for weight loss and other conditions are promoted in magazines, newspapers, on the Internet and on television. Think carefully about any claims you hear, advises the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, as there are no shortcuts when it comes to achieving optimal nutritional health.
The high protein, low carbohydrate diet craze has fueled the belief that carbohydrates are fattening. However, your body depends upon carbohydrates as its primary energy source, supplying 4 calories per gram. Omitting carbohydrates leads to lethargy and nutritional deficiencies, notes the University of Michigan Health Systems. Still, the type of carbohydrates you eat does matter. Highly processed, refined carbohydrates, such as white flour, granulated sugar, carbonated beverages, sweet desserts and candy, provide little in the way of vitamins and minerals, so avoid these. Make most of your carbohydrate choices from whole grains, fruits and vegetables to maximize your vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient intake.
Fad diets often become popular when endorsed by celebrities; the baby food diet is one example. According to the Daily Beast, trainer-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson advocates eating only pureed fruits and vegetables for quick weight loss. While overall health may not be compromised when following this type of diet for a short time, eventually it leads to nutritional deficiencies because whole food groups, such as milk and dairy foods, are omitted. Nutritionist Joy Bauer notes that eating an apple or a bowl of sugar snap peas accomplishes the same thing.
Grapefruit and celery are two foods that are promoted for weight loss because it supposedly takes more calories to digest them than each provides. According to Dr. Nancy Snyderman, medical editor at NBC News, while digestion does burn calories, it is not substantial enough to provide a deficit by eating certain foods.
Just because a food product label says “fat-free” doesn’t mean it is calorie-free. While it may contain less fat than its “regular” counterpart, fat-free foods still contain added flour, sugar or other sweeteners. These improve product taste, but still contribute calories, states the Weight-Control Information Network.
Use common sense. If a claim doesn’t make good sense, steer clear, recommends the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. No food will magically make weight disappear. If this were so, obesity would not exist. A healthy diet consists of a variety of nutritious foods; restricting your diet to only one food or food group leaves out important vitamins and minerals. Be leery of costly products that make promises unproved by solid, scientific evidence.
Article reviewed by Connie Bye Last updated on: Feb 5, 2013