With New Year's resolutions flying left and right, it can be tempting to go on a fad diet to lose weight fast. Registered dietitian Penny Clark, MS, CDN, on behalf of Country Crock Plant Butter, warns us that popular fad diets that call for restricting certain macros, food groups, or calories may work at first, but they can result in terrible mental and physical side effects and put your health at risk.
Chances are when you go back to your old eating ways, you'll just gain all the weight back. Here are Penny's recommendations on how to avoid fad diets and a few healthy eating tips that will actually help you lose weight.
How to Avoid Fad Diets
- Penny said to choose a plant-based eating plan that's lower in animal-based foods, one that's built around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lean protein. Plant-based diets encourage you to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods, so you feel full and satisfied on fewer calories. As a bonus, they're also better for the environment!
- Choose a healthy eating plan that focuses on healthy habits you can maintain for the long term; one that aims for variety, nutrient density, portion control, and that limits added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future.
- "Ditch diets that eliminate specific foods or food categories or promote quick weight loss," Penny suggested. They're unhealthy, unsustainable, and the deprivation can make you miserable!
Healthy Eating Tips For Weight-Loss
- Eat at least two and a half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruits each day. Chop ready-to-go veggies ahead of time, and eat fruit at breakfast and as snacks instead of sweets. Veggies and fruit are low in calories, offer filling fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants to give us energy, so you're less likely to crave sugar.
- Make half your grains whole grains to limit processed flours. So instead of bread with your salad, eat a side of quinoa instead. Or skip the bagel and go for steel-cut oatmeal. The fiber and protein will help you feel full longer.
- Drink calorie-free beverages such as water, seltzer, unsweetened tea or coffee.