“Any diet that selectively eliminates whole groups of foods creates a nutrient hole that’s hard to fill,” said Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian at BCM.
Detoxification diets such as colon cleanses and juice fasts are trendy right now, Anding said, but they could have a negative effect on the body.
“If you don’t have a correct source of protein you’ll lose muscle mass,” she said.
Low carbohydrate diets are always in season in some form.
“For some people with type 2 diabetes, reducing carbs is good, but taking it to zero grams per day is totally different,” Anding said.
Eliminating carbohydrates starves the body of essential “nutrient heroes” such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods contain invaluable phytonutrients.
Meals to go
Not all nutrition fads are harmful, however. According to Anding, who is also a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, a rising craze in the Houston area and elsewhere are meals-to-go restaurants such as My Fit Foods, Balance Meals to Go and several others.
“It’s a dressed up, grownup version of fast food for people who don’t know how to portion food or are too busy to cook and they want something healthy and fast,” she said.
Check out MyPlate
Anding said another healthy way to lose weight is to follow the government’s new MyPlate plan. The plan can be found at www.myplate.gov. The MyPlate plan recommends filling half your dinner plate with fruits and vegetables, along with a fourth of a plate of grains and a fourth of a plate of lean protein.
“The new plate design focuses on plant-based foods, because we know that the more produce you eat the better,” Anding said.
Exercise is another key to weight management success.
“You have to find time to be physically active; you can’t do nothing and expect long term results. Human bodies are meant to move,” she said.
Pedometers can be a helpful tool, said Anding. “Try for 10,000 steps a day. Every mile you walk, run or jog is about 100 calories.”
Whether it’s for health or weight loss, Anding says a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are the keys to long-term results.