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Nutrition 101

The Trouble with Fad Diets

The Trouble with Fad Diets

Thinking of hopping on the latest diet trend bandwagon? Culinary Nutritionist Allison Aaron explains the appeal and ultimate let down of fad diets.

Walk into any large bookstore and you will find an entire section dedicated to diet books. Google “fad diets” and you will find endless entries telling you about why a particular diet is going to be the “last diet you’ll ever be on.” But ask your dietitian, and she or he will tell you that those fad diets are not the answer.

Why? It all goes back to the very essence of what a fad diet is. Fad diets tend to choose a focus point within the diet regimen and laser in on that one point. Take the Atkins diet: carbs are bad, but sitting down to a 12 oz steak is completely acceptable. To be fair, trying to simplify things for people is not such a bad idea – eating right can be confusing to some, so giving people clear cut rules to live by helps them make decisions without having to think so hard.  

But the problem is that most fad diets are not sustainable. Making rules about certain off-limit foods only leads to temptation. People want what they can’t have. Tell someone they can’t have that piece of bread, and suddenly that plain piece of bread becomes the most tantalizing thing ever. But, temptation aside, our bodies actually need all the macro and micronutrients – fats, proteins, carbs, sodium, potassium, and the list goes on. Withholding any single nutrient prevents the body from running the way it should. The key to success is finding the right balance of food.

Lately, there has been a lot of noise around the Dietary Guidelines, but so much is taken out of context. The bottom line is that we should be eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy (unless of course, you have any intolerances or allergies). We should be eating moderate portions and listening to our own hunger cues. We should be drinking water and engaging in physical activities. Yes, we should even be indulging once in a while. Let’s be honest, no one wants to feel like they are a slave to the salad bar.

Here at SPE, we encourage healthy, sustainable eating habits for rich, fulfilling lives. We do not live to diet, and neither should you.

For a more comprehensive breakdown of the diets that are out there, read on.

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