Considering the number of Americans who are overweight, being on a diet should be a good thing, right? Well, not necessarily. Many diets are designed to help you lose weight fast, but don't give you the tools you need to keep it off. In fact, the very nature of many diets may make it difficult for you to keep weight off or even lose weight again in the future once you've gained your initial loss back. Healthy lifestyle changes, like mildly cutting calories and getting more physical activity, implemented over time, are more likely to lead to lasting weight loss than a quick-fix diet plan.
Diets that over-restrict calories. Cutting calories is one of the basics of weight loss (along with increased activity); however, diets that restrict calories too much can have a negative effect. Sure, you'll probably lose weight on the scale, but much of that could be muscle loss. Muscle mass is important for looking slim and toned, and muscle burns more calories than fat; therefore, losing muscle mass could limit your fat-burning potential and leave you looking jiggly. If you want to know how many calories you should be eating to lose weight, use an online calculator or consult with a nutritionist.
Crash diets that focus on super-fast weight loss. In our fast-paced society, everyone wants to see immediate results for their hard work. TV shows like "The Biggest Loser," although inspirational, don't help matters by showing contestants dropping double-digits on the scale each week. Any diet that promises to help you lose large amounts of weight very fast not only has the potential to be a scam, but it could also be unhealthy. Experts at the Cleveland Clinic suggest that you are more likely to keep the weight off for good if you lose weight the right way, meaning slowly and steadily by exercising more and eating less.
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Detox diets. Detox diets, which typically include a period of fasting followed by a strict diet of fruit juices, water, and raw fruits and vegetables, aren't recommended by experts at the Mayo Clinic due to harmful potential side effects and their lack of basis in scientific evidence. Detox diets can cause nausea, dehydration and dizziness, and there is no scientific evidence that they actually remove toxins from the body.
Extreme low-carb diets. A low-carb diet, such as Atkins or the Zone, doesn’t have to be unhealthy, but it can be when taken to the extreme. For example, most low-carb diets technically allow you to consume foods that are high in saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol and potentially lead to heart disease. A lack of fiber from whole-grains, fruits and veggies can also lead to constipation and other tummy troubles. Health experts at the Mayo Clinic warn against these risks and suggest that a healthy diet should allow for a variety of foods, rather than restricting dieters to just a few acceptable foods.