You're about to bite into a bean burrito when a friend says, "Don't you know carbohydrates
make you fat?" You see a book at the mall that claims you'll perform like a member of the United States swim team if you eat specific combinations of foods. A sexy movie star says she gets ready for a role by eating only grapefruit for an entire week. When so many different diet gurus say they have the answers, who should you believe? Try none of the above! back to top
What are fad diets and crash diets?
Like any fad, these diets come and go. If you fall for one of these diets, you'll be lucky if the worst thing that happens is you waste a little money. That's because there is only one surefire way to recognize fad and crash diets: they don't work! But beware. If taken too far, they can be dangerous. back to top
How do I know if it's just a fad?
People who promote fad diets and crash diets tell you what you want to hear so you'll buy their product. They say it's easy to achieve your goals thanks to their new discovery. You want a flat stomach? Take their diet pill
, give up pasta, or drink their liquid meal replacement. But anyone who has lost weight and kept it off can tell you there are no shortcuts. To follow the real fitness formula
, you need to increase your activity level through exercise and eat a healthful diet
. It's healthy and it works. back to top
Separating fact from fiction
Do you like reading fiction? Well, there's plenty of fiction written about diets. Save yourself some money and get the facts!
- The No-Carbohydrate Diet
Fiction: Carbohydrates make you fat.
Fact: Eat too much from any food group-carbohydrates, protein, or fat-and your body will store the extra calories as fat. Your body needs carbohydrates for fuel, especially complex carbohydrates like vegetables and whole grains.
- The High-Protein Diet
Fiction: Protein builds muscle and melts fat.
Fact: Exercise is the only way to build muscle. To melt fat, you need to burn more calories than you eat. The best way to do that is to do regular cardiorespiratory exercise like walking or aerobics. Plus, if you eat too much animal-based protein, such as luncheon meats, chicken, and hamburger, you're probably eating too much fat. Eating too much protein can also harm your liver and kidneys.
- The All-Grapefruit Diet
Fiction: Grapefruit has a special enzyme that burns fat. You may also hear this claim made about foods like cabbage soup and pineapple.
Fact: No food or nutrient has a special power to dissolve body fat. And eating one food for a week gets pretty boring. Of course, grapefruit, cabbage soup, and pineapple are all nutritious, low-fat foods. But none of them can provide all of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs every day.
- The Food-Combining Diet
Fiction: Certain foods can help you lose weight if you eat them at the same time. Other food combinations can make you gain weight.
Fact: Foods like kidney beans and broccoli do bring out the best nutrients in each other. Your body can absorb the iron in kidney beans better when eaten along with the vitamin C in broccoli. This has been proven through scientific research.
But there is no scientific proof that special combinations of foods have fat-fighting or fat-producing powers. back to top