How to Spot a Bad Diet Plan

by Angela Yorke | September 10th, 2012 | Diet Plans, Diet Strategy

Of all the 4-letter words I can think of, none elicit stronger opinions than “diet.”  Some people are vehemently opposed to them, being of the opinion that restricting food types and/or eating times are indicative of a life half-lived. Other people are firm believers that the discipline needed to stick to a particular diet is exactly what is needed.

Just as each person is a unique like a snowflake, there is no such thing as “the” diet for everyone. At the very least, you should be able to tell whether a diet is bad for you.

Have you found a diet plan that says you can eat anything, just as long as it’s a certain color or comprises one or two food groups? If so, run or walk very quickly in the opposite direction. Other than literally reducing the color in your life drastically, diets such as these leave the dieter vulnerable to malnutrition, in which a person receives a lack of proper nourishment.

This means that you might be getting enough calories to sustain the energy levels required for the day, but depriving your body of vital nutrients needed for repair and maintenance, such as fats. Additionally, such diets become boring very quickly, meaning you’re more at risk for an overcompensating binge in the end.

Diets that feature a “magic ingredient” also should be avoided. Two of the most prevalent examples are apple cider vinegar and green tea. Such diets are based on the premise that you will lose weight if you include ingredient X in your food. Unfortunately, if you don’t change your eating habits, the pounds are as likely to melt off quickly as I am likely to become a Navy SEAL (i.e., never).

Of course, that is not to say magic ingredients have no effect. They might increase your metabolic rate slightly or impede fat absorption somewhat, but such reported effects tend to involve individual isolated compounds and not the ingredient overall. What is not reported, or investigated, is the general effect and/or benefit derived from consumption of the whole ingredient.

A diet plan that promises substantial weight loss within a short time and with zero effort should be approached with caution, if at all. At best, it’d be a waste of time and money. At worst, it could have a detrimental effect on your health.

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