Do you have to choose between weight loss or health gains?

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Look at some of the more popular diets and the answer to this question may be a resounding, yes!! Many diets offer too few calories, dangerous hormones or supplements, restriction of entire food groups and other rules that can mean excellent and consistent weight loss, at the expense of your health. For some dieters who are morbidly obese, weight loss may be the single most vital goal that needs to be achieved, but for most of us who need to lose 10-30 pounds, that cannot be the only consideration. But for many dieters, intelligence disappears while an irrational need to have a quick fix becomes the prevailing wisdom. I cannot tell you how many clients I've worked with, come to me with the long list of rules they are following and foods they are avoiding in order to lose weight. When I even try to suggest the negative impact of such a diet - I am met with a steely gaze and an iron determination. usually because friends, or high profile celebrities have had "success."

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    U.S. News and World Reports recently ranked diets in terms of their "health impact," and I daresay many of you dieters out there will have never heard of some of these stellar plans. Mostly because they offer slow but steady weight loss, and you want fast and magical. Here are some of the rankings of healthy diets:


    (1) DASH Diet is typically associated with helping to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure), but it is a wonderful diet for anyone who wants to lose weight and improve their cardiac health profile. It's considered a balanced diet with tasty offerings, and it is a template for life-long healthy eating
    (2) TLC Diet or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, created by the National Institute of Health, it'is very similar to the DASH diet. Again, it's considered balanced and chock full of healthy foods.
    (3) Mediterranean Diet, which is really an outline for eating, based on the foods associated with the general lifestyle habits in the Mediterranean region. Rich in fish, salads, fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, small amounts of dairy foods like cheese and nuts plus some wine, it's the kind of fare that is truly tasty so you won't feel deprived.
    (4) Mayo Clinic Diet uses a pyramid approach, identifying foods with low energy density like fruits and vegetables (you can eat more of those) and high energy density (starchy foods like potatoes, nuts and seeds) which you need to portion.
    (5) Volumetrics Diet, emphasizes eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, non-fat dairy and lean meats. Its premise is to fill you up so you feel satiated for long periods of time. It's abundance of healthy foods ensures that you are eating a well-balanced diet.
    (6) Weight Watchers newely revamped Points Plan, which ensures adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables, while keeping a person's choices of other foods in the diet somewhat healthier (because the older points system allowed certain dieters to eat a controlled calorie amount with poorer quality foods). Processed, higher fat, higher calorie, sweetened foods get higher points, meaning you have to eat less overall that day. It should be noted that consumers had an opportunity on the U.S. News website to indicate if the diets worked for them, and the Weight Watchers program had one of the highest tallies of most satisfied customers.


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    Other notable diets were the Vegetarian Diet, which used US Department of Agriculture guidelines and had over 17,000 "satisfied dieters." It should be noted that Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem Diet had far more "nays than yays" in terms of consumer satisfaction, as did Slim-Fast, Zone, South Beach and Paleo Diet. The Vegan Diet had a 15:1 ratio of happy followers and Eco-Atkins diet, which experts felt was too high in fat and too light on carbs, was still considered a healthier version of the original diet, and had over 10,000 satisfied dieters and 489 unhappy users.


    the take-away message should be that a person who wants to lose weight while improving their overall health (which will of course happen the minute they lose some excess weight), should choose a program that is not incredibly restrictive.  the program should allow you to eat from all food groups, but advise the best choices from each of those groups.  It should offer calorie assessment/portion control and recommend some physical activity to boost the diet impact.

Published On: November 15, 2011