Home Health CHERYL A. MAJOR: Fad Diets



Cheryl A. Major is a volunteer contributor to WestfordCAT News. Email news to [email protected].

Do you know how many diets you have personally tried over the years to lose excess weight? Do you know how many fad diets are out there to tempt you to try an easy fix to lose weight? What are some of the most popular fad diets, and why aren’t they a good idea for long term weight control?

One of the most popular diets is Weight Watchers. I’ve known people who have lost quite a bit of weight on this program. The problem is once you go off the program… and sooner or later you will… because you don’t know how to eat on your own, you are most likely to gain the weight right back. Another negative is that you are allowed to eat anything you want, the only caution being to control your portions. This means you’re not being directed to eat clean, healthy food. Many people find the support helpful, however, which is now available in the form of online meetings as well as in-person meetings.

Another popular program is NutriSystem. I took a look at the ingredients of their Zesty Herb Snack Mix just to get an idea of how healthy their “food” really is. I’ll just hit the high (or low) points for you…”corn flour (gmo?), soy protein isolate (gmo?), soybeans (gmo?), rice flour (gmo?), salt (you should not consume regular table salt; it contains iodine which is a hormone disruptor), corn starch (gmo?), resistant maltodextrin (one of the 56 names of sugar), vegetable oil (may contain palm oil, canola oil or sunflower oil…canola oil is most often gmo and promotes inflammation in your body…in addition, the production of palm oil is stripping the rainforests, and I recommend avoiding anything that is made with palm oil), sugar (is sugar is sugar),” and it goes on and on… Not healthy ingredients at all, and their “food” is pricey.
There are other diets like The Zone Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Atkins Diet, Macrobiotic Diet, Paleo Diet, Volumetrics and The Raw Diet, but my favorite food philosophy of eating is the Mediterranean Diet with a few adjustments. The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes healthy fats like Omega 3s found in olive oil as well as seafood, whole grains, fruits and veggies. If you’re a meat eater, you can certainly have a small portion of lean protein. The visual size reference you should use for your protein is the size of a single deck of cards. Additionally, I teach incorporating reduction or avoidance of gluten and dairy as well as elimination of sugar and all processed foods.
The above does not mean you can never have a dessert again or a potato chip. It just means you will choose the healthiest version of what you want to have and you will only have it occasionally. The funny thing is that once you adopt and commit to a new dietary philosophy and begin to lose weight and feel better mentally and physically, your new “diet” becomes a habit that you embrace because it feeds a slimmer you who has more energy and a better, more even mood.
Another downside to a fad diet is that, in the beginning when you’re dropping pounds quickly, the bad news is that it’s not fat you’re losing…it’s water weight. Once you “plateau” (which is when dieters get frustrated and give up)…that’s when you’re beginning to lose the fat. Losing fat is a much slower process than eliminating some water weight.
More about plateauing in next week’s article.

Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show Thin Strong Healthy airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com   Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier.  Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor.  She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.


Questions?  Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Health Question in the subject line.  Your question and its answer will be included in a future article.