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Don't commit fad fraud

By Elizabeth Sommerfeld
Jan. 10, 2017 at midnight
Updated Jan. 11, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Elizabeth Sommerfeld

Elizabeth Sommerfeld

With the new year in focus, many people make resolutions regarding weight loss or getting healthier. Oftentimes, people turn to fad diets to get a jump start on that weight loss. So how do you determine what is a reasonable, healthy diet versus a fad diet? Here are a few tips of things to look for to prevent you from fad fraud.

Avoid diets that promote rapid weight loss. Recommended weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Losing more than that can result in water and muscle loss.

Avoidance of food groups is a fad focus. Diets that recommend avoiding entire food groups can be detrimental to your overall health. Each food group has its own benefits. For example, the grain group is high in fiber, B vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium. Fruits are typically high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folate. Vegetables too are high in fiber, vitamins A and C, folate and potassium. Protein foods (from animal products or plant based) can be high in B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, iron, omega 3- fatty acids and magnesium. And dairy helps provide calcium, potassium and vitamin D. To get the best bang for your buck, remember to vary all of your options to get the best out of each food group.• Rigid menus don't work for most people. I often have times when people ask me to write them a menu. I often decline because to take peoples' likes/dislikes and plan a balanced menu from the food groups and work around schedules would take an eternity. And most people won't stick with it for the long term. General outlines such as two to three carbohydrates, 2-3 ounces of protein and half a plate of vegetables per meal is about as close to a menu as I like to write. It gives people the opportunity to flex various foods into their diet and makes long term healthy eating more likely.

Also remember, if you go on a diet, oftentimes, you come off the diet as well. Over-restriction has a way of backfiring on us.

Look at the My Plate and try to follow that as a basic guideline for healthy eating. The myplate.gov website has a wealth of information to help guide you on healthy choices to make from each food group, it's free and easy to use. Check it out.

Elizabeth Sommerfeld is the bariatric coordinator for DeTar Healthcare System and the nutrition manager at Jackson County Hospital District.


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