We’ve all heard the claims – “lose weight fast”, “lose weight while you sleep”, “new superfood improves weight loss” – the list goes on.
With so much confusing, and often incorrect, information available online many of us forget the key to a healthy lifestyle is to eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, eggs and legumes and exercise regularly.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for weight loss, so here are our top questions to consider if you find yourself tempted to try a new ‘fad’ diet:
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1. Does it highly-restrict the number of calories you can eat daily?
Reducing the number of calories you eat can cause you to lose weight quickly, but most restrictive diets fail long-term because you’re often hungry and always thinking about the foods you can’t have, rather than the foods you can have.
The best way to lose weight, and keep it off, is to reduce the number calories you eat to a level you can stick to. Do this by making gradual changes to your diet, such as cutting out fast foods and sugary drinks, and eating more fruit and vegetables.
2. Does the diet include pills, powders or supplements you must buy?
For most people, eating a balanced diet means you don’t need extra vitamin and mineral supplements – unless told by your doctor or you have a health condition that specifically requires extra supplementation.
If the diet relies heavily on you buying a particular product, it’s probably more a sales tactic that scientifically based research.
3. Does it sound too good to be true?
Big weight loss for minimal effort? Chances are, yes, it is too good to be true! Losing weight takes a long-term commitment to change your diet, and maintaining a healthy weight usually takes a lifelong commitment.
4. Does the diet blame a food group on weight gain?
Cutting out whole food groups, such as fats or carbohydrates, may mean you’re missing out on important vitamins and minerals. Successful long-term weight loss usually involves eating a range of food in moderation.
And remember, regular exercise also plays a big part in weight loss. Aim to include an hour a day of moderate intensity physical activity, 5 days a week.
- Behind the hype: Weight loss diets Health Promotion Agency.
- Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults: Topical Questions and Answers. Ministry of Health 2015
- Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults. Ministry of Health