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The Dangers of Fad Diets

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The Cabbage Soup diet, the Chocolate diet, the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, the Grapefruit diet...these are just some of the many fad diets that have hit the market and consumers have experimented with over the recent years.

Their claims sound great – quick, easy weight loss without much exercise involved, if any, and you can be thin for the rest of your life.

However, what many people don’t realize is how dangerous these diets can be, both physically and psychologically. Many fad diets tend to over-emphasize one particular food item, or type of food, which contradict the guidelines for healthy eating.

For example:
* Rapid weight loss can result in the loss of body water and lean muscle mass, but not fat.
* High protein diets may increase the amount of calcium your body excretes, and therefore place you at higher risk for osteoporosis (the bone thinning disease).
* Diets that are very low in calories may deplete your body of necessary nutrients that it needs to be healthy, including vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
* You may become apathetic, irritable, depressed, easily distracted, and less mentally alert.

Healthy Eating Tips
* Be ready to change – list reasons why you want to change and post them on your refrigerator
* Healthy eating starts with grocery shopping – stock up on nutritious foods
* Aim for 5-10 veggies and fruits daily – there won’t be room for much more
* Listen to your body – eat when you start to feel hungry, not “starving”
* Don’t be a member of the “clean plate” club – eat slowly and stop before you are full
* Don’t eat out of boredom or stress (try exercise, reading, or starting a new hobby)
* When dining out, split an entrée with a friend or eat an appetizer

The next time you ponder starting a fad diet, remember that it may be damaging to your health, so think twice about it.

Corinne is a degreed nutritionist and award-winning writer. Visit her web site at www.thefoodcop.com.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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