There are more fad diets than you could shake a wooden spoon at, promising a sleek, thin body in time for, say, the looming beach season. But the promises these diets make are often unrealistic and the results are difficult to maintain.
Nancy Copperman, RD, North Shore-LIJ Health System corporate director of public health initiatives, said these fad diets can often call for an impossibly low number of daily calories – some limiting the food intake to just 500 calories a day. She says people need to consume about 2,000 calories a day to maintain their weight. When someone follows a diet with severe restrictions, their body can start to consume muscle tissue and often their electrolytes are tipped out of balance. Fad diets can also cause nutrient deficiency as well as changes in blood pressure and heart function, she added.
As bikini season approaches, Ms. Copperman suggests not trying to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time with a fad diet, but creating a “forever diet,” with options such as cutting portion sizes, drinking non-caloric beverages like water and practicing more mindful eating in general. Incorporating any one, if not all, of these practices can help a person lose weight at a healthy pace and, as an added bonus, potentially keep the weight off.