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Choose Responsible Weight-Loss Methods
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many New Year's resolutions have already fallen by the wayside, leaving dieters frustrated by the challenge of permanently losing excess weight.
Fad diets that sound promising may result in a roller coaster weight loss experience or worse yet, damage health.
"Every few years or so, a new diet becomes the rage. Most recently, ëSugar Busters!' has received a lot of attention," said Roxanne Roccaforte, dietetic intern at Mississippi State University. "Dietitians strongly advocate lifestyle changes over fad diets that won't last a lifetime."
Roccaforte said with few exceptions such as medical reasons, people do not diet all of their lives. Eventually, they resume their normal eating habits and often respond to cravings from missed foods.
"Dietitians have some specific concerns with the `Sugar Busters!' diet. It encourages a high protein diet, which makes the kidneys work much harder, and it limits some fruits and vegetables, which is contrary to the Food Guide Pyramid and may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease," Roccaforte said. "All diets should be monitored by a physician who is aware of potential risks and will watch for warning signs." Roccaforte said fad diets often promise quick-fix, easy methods. Beware of programs that recommend bizarre quantities of one food, don't encourage exercise or do not acknowledge potential medical concerns.
"Before and after photos or testimonials may sound wonderful, but you really need to see or talk to those people years later," Roccaforte said. "Look for plans that will last a lifetime."
Balanced diets, moderation and variety are the keys to healthy eating. Following the Food Guide Pyramid and exercise plans are the best ways to better health.
"Individuals should not attempt to lose more than a couple pounds each week," she said. "Anything more is likely to be water weight that will not stay off in the long-run. People don't gain all their extra weight overnight; they shouldn't expect to lose it that quickly, either."
Kimberly Peeples, MSU dietetic intern, suggested people re-examine their choices for foods and activities. Moderate portions of a variety of nutrient-rich foods is an important step nutritionally. Increase physical activity slowly by taking the stairs instead of elevators and parking further away from your destination.
"Little things add up quickly, whether it adds weight or helps keep weight off," Peeples said. "It's never too late to develop new, healthier habits, and a variety of help is available."
Peeples recommended exercising with a partner and following a healthy meal plan. For more tips for a healthy diet, visit the American Dietetics Association's web site at:http://www.eatright.org .