14 Fad Diets

Brad J. Wallum, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of Washington
Private Practice, Eastside Endocrinology and Diabetes, PS
Bellevue, Washington

 

IT’S HARD TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE

The connection between the quality of your diet and your health is well known. Improving your daily food choices has a big pay-off. How do you do that? On the following page is a self-assessment. Read the following directions and then fill it out. First, figure out what you really eat on an average day. Take a few minutes and write down everything: meals, beverages and snacks you have eaten it the past 24 hours. Start from right now and go back to this time yesterday. Then go on to use this data on the following grid. Information about food groups and portion sizes are down the left side. Ratings of quality are included across the top. Beneficial nutrients available are down the right side.

WHAT SHOULD I CHANGE FIRST?

If your assessment revealed a less than adequate intake of fruits and vegetables, then that should be your first priority. High nutritional values and very low calories make them the best choice. 5 servings a day is really a minimum up to 8 servings a day have been the actual goal in many diet plans. Next, look at portion sizes. Are your meals too large? Check the fat content on food labels to be sure you are choosing foods with the lowest available fat. Fat has 9 calories per gram while carbohydrate and protein have 4. Those fat calories add up fast.

WHAT ARE THE TRAPS?

Junk food, fast food and oversized portions: stop these and the quality of your diet will go up immediately. Plan and shop for a week’s worth of meals at a time. Pack a lunch. Try to avoid snacks. Remember, it’s OK to say “No, thanks.” if you are offered food and you are not hungry.

CURRENT POPULAR DIET PLANS

High protein, food combining, very low calories are some of the premises current popular diets are based on. It’s important to remember that no one diet is perfect for everyone. There is no “magic formula” that will lead to long-term weight management. Making good food choices and increasing activity will work for 95% of the population. The “popular diet” may jump start your weight loss, but these diets are not for lifetime use as they are deficient in important nutrients, expensive and difficult to adhere to.

WHERE TO GO FOR MORE

Tuft’s University Nutrition Newsletter, navigator.tufts.edu, Click on Health Professionals, then Hot Topics, then Sports Nutrition applies to all ages and interests.

Visit Centers for Disease Control, cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physicalactivitv.htm, The Nutrition and Physical Activity component of the CDC, to find specific programs.

Gatorade Sports Science Exchange, www.gssiweb.com, is a complete database for those interested in nutrition, exercise and sports medicine.

Click here for the Nutrition Chart.

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