How to Spot a Dubious Diet

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Dubious Diet
Every day it seems a new diet is ready to make weight loss faster and easier than ever before. Or at least they say they are. "Most fad diets go something like this: Take a few foods, give them 'magic' power, and set a plan to convince people that eating this way and only this way will promote weight loss," says Alexandra Caspero, RD, a nutritionist based in Sacramento, Calif.

The National Council Against Fraud cautions dieters to watch for these warnings of dangerous or fraudulent programs which are impractical to the downright dangerous.

Promises of very rapid weight loss.

Claims that the diet can eliminate “cellulite” (a term used to describe simply fatty tissue on the arms and legs).

“Counselors” who are really salespersons pushing a product or program.

No mention of any risks associated with the diet.

Unproven gimmicks, such as body wraps, starch blockers, hormones, diuretics, or “unique” pills or potions.

No maintenance program.

If you hear about a new diet that promises to melt away fat don’t try it until you get answers to the following questions:

Does it include a wide variety of nutritious foods?

Does it provide at least 1,200 calories a day?

Is it designed to reduce your weight by one-half to two pounds per week?

Does it emphasize moderate portions?

Does it use foods that are easy to find and prepare?

Can you follow it wherever you eat—at home, work, restaurants, or parties?

Is the cost reasonable?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, don’t try the diet; then ask yourself one more question: is losing weight worth losing your well-being?

Also read: How to design a healthy diet

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