It might be actresses such as Suzanne Sommers and Jane Fonda, or models such as Christie Brinkley or Kathy Ireland. It seems that a number of celebrities today offer their own weight loss programs. The programs are appealing because we see these various svelte celebrities and we want to have bodies just like them. The celebrities are also highly likable, so we have a predisposition to be accepting of their products.
However, did you ever stop to think whether these celebrities have any nutritional training? Do they have medical training? Is the information that they offer nutritionally sound? Or is it just a good sales pitch?
Nutrition experts Annette B. Natow and Jo-Ann Heslin, authors of the book Get Skinny the Smart Way, say that consumers should be leery of celebrity-inspired diet books. They point out that such books are often based upon nutritional fiction and that, while the diets outlined in these books may result in short-term weight loss, they can be far from healthy in the long run. Therefore, you might consider passing up the celebrity diet books and opting for those written by nutritional experts instead.
But celebrities aren’t the only ones preaching fad diets. For instance, there’s the so-called grapefruit diet which recommends consuming a grapefruit prior to each meal. Another fad is the cabbage soup diet, which requires you to consume all the cabbage soup you can handle. Other fads call for eating all the eggs you can…consuming only raw foods…or fasting every other day. Such diets are not only based on nutritional misinformation—they can also be dangerous.
For instance, let’s take a closer look at the cabbage soup diet. No major health organization has endorsed it. Moreover, the American Heart Association disapproves of it, noting that it can actually harm you. Promoters of this diet say that you can lose as much as 15 pounds a week by following it—what they don’t say is that most of that weight is water weight. Once you begin eating normally again, you will see your weight rise once more. Some of the side-effects of the cabbage soup diet include a feeling of weakness, stomach pains, and diarrhea.
Yet another questionable diet approach is what’s known as food combining. Such a diet assumes that you are overweight because you are not eating the right combination of food. The requirements of such a diet can seem quite arbitrary. For instance, you might be told that you can eat a banana only in the morning. This is rubbish, since your stomach can deal with a variety of different foods at one time. The idea behind such a diet is to eat food with fewer calories, but there are other methods you can use to accomplish the same goals.
Some companies even claim that you can shed pounds while you dream. They say that, if you use their product right before bedtime, you will lose weight. In actuality, no company can make such a claim with any degree of credibility. It is impossible to burn a large number of calories while snoozing. In other cases, you may be tempted to try to lose weight by consuming special milkshakes or candy bars. In essence, these products are just milk and candy with certain vitamins and minerals added. However, one rarely feels satisfied after consuming these products. As a result, you may find yourself actually consuming additional calories during the rest of the day. While you might be able to theoretically lose weight in the short-term, you’ll find it difficult to maintain the weight loss over the long haul.
The fact of the matter is that there is a great deal of money that can be made through the sale and marketing of diet products. As long as America has a large contingent of overweight people, companies will try to make a profit off of overeating. It is up to you to be savvy enough to recognize a diet fad when you see it and opt for a different approach to losing weight. You’ll find that there are really no short-cuts to weight loss. Any successful diet program takes time, patience, and determination, along with a willingness to change your eating patterns.
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Penha Cristina Mullett
Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner