Health Watch -- Fad Diets

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Are you still on your New Year's diet?

You're not alone if you made a New Year's resolution to lose weight. You're also not alone if that New Year's diet is long forgotten by this time of year. Nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that's especially likely if you chose a fad diet to help you lose weight.

Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian who teaches nutrition at UT Southwestern, says fad diets are hard to stick to. It may sound easy to eat a certain kind of food for a couple of meals a day or to just eliminate one particular kind of food, but before long, you'll get bored with the diet or tired of that food, or you may crave the food you gave up and end up binging on it.

Some fad diets that have been popular in recent years include meal replacement bars or shakes, diets that call for eating cereal or sandwiches two meals a day and diets that cut out carbohydrates. Ms. Sandon says these diets aren't realistic for long-term and permanent weight loss.

Instead of focusing on a "diet," try adding healthy habits to your lifestyle. Add more healthful foods to your daily routine to make sure you get enough essential nutrients. Just making sure you get the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day will help add nutrition to your diet and fill you up so you're less tempted by other foods.


April 2004