It’s fairly safe to say that most of us are either on a diet or should be. As a nation, those in the U.S. are overweight, and many of us are obese. This is a serious threat to our health, our future and our national security. The time to do something about it is now, but we have to do it smartly, not spur of the moment or uninformed.
There are problems with most diets. The biggest one is in the word itself. To be on a diet means that at some point, you plan on getting off of it. Even if you successfully lose all the weight you want, once you go back off of the diet, you are likely to gain it all back. What is really needed is a change in lifestyle, not just temporarily avoiding certain foods.
Avoiding Food Type Diets
I have a list of diets that have been used over the years. Some of them are still around, largely because they can be effective. That does not mean they are safe or even good for every person.
Grapefruit: This weight loss plan came out when I was in high school. It took the community by storm, and it sold a lot of citrus fruits. As it was winter in West Virginia, it also lightened a number of wallets, as the fruit had to be imported from warmer climes.
There are a lot of plans like it. The idea is to concentrate all of your eating habits around a single or very limited type of food. The problem with that is a lack of balance. We need diversity in our eating habits, and that’s hard to do when there’s only a few things you’re allowed to eat.
Low Carb: The low carb craze has been around for many years, primarily because you can lose a significant amount of weight on it. For some people, it is even a healthy way of choosing foods. However, not everyone can survive on it and you will definitely need a nutritionist to help you set it up. That’s because of the problems the diet can bring about.
The first problem is that low carb frequently translates to high fat and cholesterol, as protein is the primary resource. You can be at an ideal weight and still have a heart attack. The second thing to watch out for is that fiber is found in carbohydrates. Dietary fiber is needed to help move things along in the digestive tract and to block absorption of some of the fat and cholesterol.
Starvation; This is actually the most common type of diet. Extreme low calorie count and usually a heavy workout routine are the key components. The list of problems this method causes could fill many articles, but here are a few: anemia, constipation, lethargy, loss of menstruation and deficiency diseases.
While we do need to make changes in what we are willing to eat and drink, I recommend we do it the smart way. Get a check up from your doctor, find out what types of exercise might be beneficial and ask to be referred to a nutritionist to help you set up a diet that fits your needs.