2013 Resolution: Step Away from Fad Diets

The New Year brings exciting opportunity for fresh starts, which usually translate into New Year’s Resolutions. Typically, these resolutions are related to health, specifically weight loss.2012 was an interesting year for fad diets. Along with the now-classics: cabbage soup, the fruit flush, raw food, baby food, and master cleanse diets, there were other perplexing programs touted for their “quick fix” to lose those extra pounds. Among my personal “favorites” were the following:

  • The KEN (Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition) Diet gained popularity in Europe despite involving the insertion of a tube through your nose directly into your stomach for 10 days during which time you consume 800 calories/day consisting of protein and fat – no carbohydrates. If successful, you will supposedly be 20 pounds lighter. (Maintaining the weight loss once you integrate solids into your diet remains to be seen.) You will, however, be $1500 poorer. Guaranteed.
  • The Pregnancy Hormone (hCG) diet or “Starvation Diet” (catchy, right?) involves injecting yourself with doses of hCG daily for 23-40 days. Despite lacking any proof/research, the promoters of hCG supplements claim it helps curb the appetite. Is there a caveat? Need you even ask? You must also follow an incredibly restrictive diet of 500 calories a day.
  • Sensa Crystals or “The Sprinkle Diet” consists of sprinkling sensa (tastans) over everything you eat. Tastans (scent and flavor combinations) purportedly provide a feeling of fullness without the hassle of counting calories or restricting one’s diet. With no peer-reviewed research to support their claims, one is expected to lose 30 pounds in 6 months. FYI – with proper guidance, weight loss programs can help you lose up to 36 pounds in 6 months (~1-1.5 lbs/week weight loss), without the purchase of additional supplements.
  • This past year, Dr. Oz promoted Raspberry Ketones on his show saying that this dietary supplement (consisting of the primary aroma of red raspberries) “helps your body think it’s thin” by increasing the amount of adinopectin in the body (a hormone that helps empty and shrink fat calls). This may sound promising, but at a $20/bottle, raspberry ketones must be taken indefinitely in order to see results. And, of course, they must be paired with both exercise and a well-balanced diet. Studies conducted are inconclusive on weight loss success, but research does show marked improvement in skin and hair.
  • The Gluten-Free Diet.  Celiac disease is no joke. It is an autoimmune disease in which one cannot digest gluten (a waxy protein) found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. Only about 1% of the population has celiac disease and 10% have gluten sensitivity, however many more are touting this diet restriction as the miracle weight loss program. If you don’t have celiac disease, wheat is not bad for you. However, many products made with wheat can be low in nutrition or just plain crappy. Rather than restricting your diet so severely, make healthier choices. Opt for whole grains and limit your cookie and pastry intake.

I invite you to join in my personal new year’s resolution to SAY NO to fad diets, like Bushwick Nutrition favorite, Jennifer Lawrence – Love her! Instead, integrate healthy habits into your life one step at a time. Keep your goals realistic and achievable. Remember, research shows that habits take 21 days to stick, so BE PATIENT.

Here are some ideas to jump start your healthy reform:

  • Go back to basics, eat more fruit and vegetables.
  • Set a walking goal: 1 mile equals approximately 20 blocks or 10 avenues.
  • Cook more and limit dining out to 2/week maximum.
  • Read labels. Educate yourself about what you’re eating.
  • Shop around the perimeter of the store. This is an easy way to avoid junk food aisles.
  • Plan ahead and avoid skipping meals. Hunger pangs lead to bad food choices.
  • Keep a journal. It’s a tried and true way to a) figure out how much you’re eating, and b) find associations between what you eat and how you feel

If you’d like to set up a complimentary 10-minute session, feel free to contact me. Currently I am offering a special promotion for the 3 Week Challenge! More info here.  

References & Inspiration: M. Hartley. 9 Fad Diets of 2012. ABC News; L. Schmidt-Pierson. Eat It Up! Good habits and wise food choices for healthy living. BellaMagazine.com; C. Tunnell. Make and keep healthy habits over 21 days. The Star Press. Photo by Ellen von Unwerth in Vanity Fair, February 2013.