The harsh reality of fad dieting

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Many people have made losing weight and/or becoming healthier one of their New Year’s resolutions, and some may try to do so through a fad diet that promises quick and dramatic weight loss results.

While intending to become a healthier version of yourself is good, fad dieting can lead to its own set of health problems including dehydration, weakness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, constipation and nutrient deficiencies. This is because most fad diets are based on consuming a limited number of foods or eliminating a certain food or food group entirely from your diet. This is not only boring, but it is not sustainable and can lead to the serious health side effects mentioned above.

You can easily identify whether a diet is a fad diet or one supported by research because a fad diet will almost never include a physical activity component.

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Research shows that most adults should engage in between 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g. brisk walking) or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (e.g. cycling) each week to show the positive health benefits from movement.

Before starting or stopping any diet, you should approach your doctor or dietitian to make sure the program is safe for you, particularly if you have a health condition that is impacted by diet, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Also, ask yourself if the diet you are starting is something you can sustain for the rest of your life.

Remember, if the diet and its effects seem too good to be true, they probably are.

Research continues to show that the best way to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle is by being physically active and eating a variety of foods. These foods include:

• A variety of vegetables in all different colors;

• Fruits, preferably the whole fruit;

• Grains with whole grains comprising at least half of your consumption;

• Low-fat dairy;

• Proteins including seafood, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds;

More information on eating healthy and incorporating more physical activity into your day is available at the Harlan County Extension office.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.