Do You Know Nutrition: Why diets don't work

By Phylis Canion
March 19, 2013 at midnight
Updated March 18, 2013 at 10:19 p.m.

Can you please share with me why so many diets just don't work - or at least for me? I have tried diets such as the cabbage soup diet, low-fat diet, low-carb diet and banana diet to name a few. While I may lose a little, I always seem to put the weight back on - sometimes even more weight than I lost. It is frustrating, and I am at my wit's end trying to figure out my next step. Please help me.

The bottom line is that most diets are a temporary fix for a permanent problem. In order for diets to work, you should change your eating behaviors, like chewing your food properly and your lifestyle, like not eating at 9 p.m. and going to bed at 10 p.m. It should not be an on/off program.

The most effective way to begin a lifestyle change is to gradually add healthier foods, supplement with whole-food daily vitamins (not loaded with binders, fillers, wheat, soy, sugar, gluten and dairy), drink plenty of water and incorporate exercise a few times a week.

If you want to lose weight, you will have to eat fewer calories than you burn daily, so I recommend you choose foods that you can see yourself enjoying, yet they are still nutritious and healthy. You can continue to include those foods in your eating program even as you age.

Do not cut your calorie intake too dramatically because if you deprive your body of the necessary calories, your body will think you are in the middle of a famine and will do its best to keep you from dying of hunger.

By going into a "starvation mode" the body lowers the metabolic rate to preserve fat and energy reserves. The result is that the body will consume your muscles before it will start on your fat stores because muscle tissue requires the most calories.

Your body is very smart and programmed to survive. Unfortunately, we are a society of instant gratification - open something up, zap the contents and hurriedly eat it. I believe that old saying "You are what you eat" has a clearer meaning now than ever before.

I absolutely love to eat nuts of all kinds. Why are nuts known to be so healthy, and what do you think is the healthiest nut to eat?

Nuts are one of Mother Nature's gifts and are high in B vitamins, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It only takes a handful of nuts to satisfy hunger and help you stay full longer; they are also an excellent source of fiber. And now, for the drum roll: Walnuts are king.

Studies indicate that walnuts have high levels of vitamin E, an ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids (1:5) and are full of vitamins and minerals. Walnuts are followed by almonds, cashews, pecans and Brazil nuts. Peanuts are susceptible to a fungus that generates poisons called aflatoxins. If you know the source of the peanuts and they are free of fungi, then they are safe to eat.

Thought for the week: We need emotion with devotion not the commotion of emotion.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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