Fad Diets May Not Deliver What They Promise

Armen Hareyan's picture

Fals Diet Promises

Anyone who reads the newspaper, reads magazines, watches television or listens to the radio knows that dieting is big business. Consumers are bombarded with messages about fad diets that seem to come and go. Spending on weight loss products reached $43 billion in recent years. Some may help you lose weight in the short term, but most are a waste of hard-earned money. If they worked, the majority of Americans would not be overweight. For National Nutrition Month 2007, the American Dietetic Association says the most effective long-term way to achieve a healthful lifestyle is to be 100% Fad Free?.

As easy as it is to be lured by promises of a quick fix, the reality is that there isn't one. There is no super food, super pill or super diet that will make us thin. How can we spot fads?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of offers promising a quick fix.
Watch out for gimmicks asking you to buy additional products such as 'supplements'.
If a diet plans asks you to avoid an entire group of foods, such as carbohydrates, beware. It is extremely difficult and maybe dangerous to exclude an entire food group.
If the plan offers proof that it works based on personal experiences rather than science, forget it. Words like miraculous, breakthrough, revitalize, detoxify, cure, quick or secret formula are red flags.

If fad diets aren't the answer, what is a desperate, discouraged dieter to do? Very simply, eat a little less and move a little more. A very small 100-calorie per day margin can swing your weight by 10 pounds per year! This means that if you take in 100 calories more than you need every day for a year, you will gain about 10 pounds in that year.


Conversely, if you take in 100 calories less than you need every day for a year, you will lose about 10 pounds in a year. This 100-calorie margin change can be accomplished painlessly and without your even noticing. What does 100 calories look like?

4 Hershey kisses
5 tablespoons of coffee creamer
14 potato chips
8 ounces of soda
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of cream cheese
8 ounces of lemonade
10 French fries

Cutting out any of these items is certainly possible and won't make you feel deprived. In fact, cutting 200 or even 300 calories per day will likely go unnoticed. As you can see drastic measures aren?t necessary to manage weight.

The Marion County Health Department promotes healthy nutrition through a variety of educational programs. Health department Registered Dieticians (RD) specialize in personalizing weight management. Registered Dietitians excel in understanding the causes of weight gain and are prepared to help individuals incorporate a healthy diet and physical activity into a daily routine. The health department also provides counseling support to families with children who have been identified as being at risk for being overweight or underweight. Local elementary schools incorporate healthy nutrition information in their curriculums to encourage children to try new fruits and vegetables with support from the health department.

The Nutrition Services program also administers the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to eligible participants in Marion County. Through WIC, individuals are identified as 'nutritionally at risk' and are provided with nutrition education and healthy supplemental foods. WIC participation continues to grow in Marion County; therefore more families are reached with healthy nutrition and physical activity information.

For more information on the Marion County Health Department?s Nutrition Services program, call the health department at 221-7401.