Contributed by Robert L.
Every year brings new fitness and diet fads as people look for easy ways to lose weight. A few years back we had the Atkins diet and the raw diet, and 2011 did not disappoint.
Here are a few of last year’s fad diets and how effective they are:
- The Caveman Diet (aka the Paleo Diet). This diet consists of pasture fed proteins, fresh not frozen seafood and organic vegetables. Since cavemen did not make bread there is very little in the way of grains. Nuts and seeds are allowed in small quantities. Processed foods, dairy and refined sugars are excluded as the cavemen didn’t have microwaves to make mac n’ cheese. People on the diet say they have lost weight without increasing the amount they exercise, improved overall help and increased energy/less of a need for sleep. However, it tends to be an expensive way to eat and the lack of nutrients from dairy need to be examined. Without dairy, how can you get the calcium you need? It is most likely the lack of processed foods and sugar that helps people lose weight.
- The Gluten-Free Diet. While the surge of gluten free food helps those with celiac disease, it is the diet industry that made gluten free foods so popular. There have been reports of people losing weight on a gluten free diet but there are many studies that show gluten-free dieters gain weight. Overall, evidence shows that a gluten free diet does not help you lose weight in the long term.
- HCG Diet (human chorionic gonadotropin). During pregnancy, the HCG hormone(also used in fertility treatments) is naturally produced. In order to lose weight, people are injecting themselves with this hormone and are losing weight. However, the other part of the diet is a calorie restriction of 500-800 calories a day! The calorie restriction is more likely the cause of the weight loss since, as with all calorie reduction diets, when you eat more calories you gain the weight back. HCG is not approved for over-the-counter use and is not approved for weight loss.
As much as we keep looking for this or that diet to lead to permanent weight loss, people who achieve desired long-term results report that it takes an integrated approach–making healthy food choices and doing some form of exercise. Now that’s a winning combination!