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D Scott Angle
D Scott Angle
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5 Easy Ways to Spot a Fad Diet

Jun. 21, 2012 5:00 am

This is a guest post by the delightful Toby Amidor.

Walk into any book store and you’ll see the latest diets displayed in front of the store. They’re targeting folks who’re getting ready for bathing suit season. After reading over 200 diet books, I’ll tell you how to spot an unsafe diet that will inevitably lead you to fall off the wagon.

#1: Overly hyped scientific mumbo-jumbo

All diet books explain their theories and philosophies—usually at the beginning of the book or home page of the website. If the language and scientific jargon makes you think you’re in college chemistry, skip it. I’ve found the more complicated it is, the less likely it’s truly sound.

#2: Avoidance of food groups

Carb, fat, fruit, or any other type of food avoiders, listen carefully….there’s no need to avoid any type of food group to safely lose weight. The more restrictive a diet is, the less likely you’re going to stick to it over the long haul. Even worse, the fewer food groups you eat, the less likely you’re getting in all your essential nutrients.

#3: Pill pushing

A diet that pushes their special pills or multiple supplements - sounds more like they’re looking to take your money. There is no need for so many supplements that you need to carry a note card like my grandmother with her pill schedule. The diet may also not tell you that some of those supplements can interact with medications you’re on. Instead, spend your hard earned money on real, whole food.

#4: Lack of exercise

If a diet promises weight loss without exercise, that’s a red flag. Both go hand in hand. Any safe diet book should promote at least 30 minutes of regular physical activity most days of the week.

#5: Speedy weight loss

Want to lose weight very quickly? So do most people—and diet plans play into that. According to the National Institute of Health, a safe rate of weight loss is between 1-2 pounds per week. Losing weight quicker than that can result in a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Also, folks who lose weight quickly, tend to gain it back just as quickly (and then some).

LET’S DISCUSS: Which diets have you tried?

Toby is the founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition where she provides nutrition and food safety consulting services for various entities, including Sears, Activewear USA, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and many more. She is a nutrition expert and, in addition to her advisory work, writes for well-read publications like (Healthy Eating Blog); and Today’s Dietitian Magazine (“Ask the expert”) to name just two. Her own blog was voted into the Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011 by Healthline.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University. She is also a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist by the state of New York.

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