Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Skinny on Fad Diets!

Cutting Through The Fads!

According to the Centers for disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults, over 72 million people, were obese in 2005-2006. This includes 33.3 % of men and 35.3 % of women. Of the $666 billion in national healthcare costs, 30% is related to an inappropriate diet. The top 5 diseases have a scientific-based connection to the diet: heart disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, and anemia (Today’s Dietitian, Oct. 2003, p. 31). Since diet is so important to one’s health, how are people supposed to know what to follow? With over 6,000 diet books on sale, people are bound to be confused on what to believe. Bottom line – there is no across the board diet for everyone, each person needs an individualized plan based on their height, weight, body fat, age and lifestyle. Here are some facts on five popular fad diets: 1. New Diet Revolution (Robert C. Atkins, M.D.)Premise: Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (1997) book suggests drastically reducing the intake of carbohydrates to force the body into burning the stored fat reserve for energy. This results in losing pounds and inches while still eating protein and fat-laden foods. Meat, eggs, butter and most cheeses are top choice foods according to Dr. Atkins.Facts: This high-protein diet will most likely have you eating high saturated fat foods, which may affect blood cholesterol levels and increase heart disease risk. In addition, the Atkins diet does not maintain adequate glycogen stores (stored carbohydrate in muscle and brain cells), which in turn contributes to impaired mental alertness/cognitive performance, dehydration and muscle fatigue, which is not conducive to an exercise regime. Furthermore, excessive protein consumption is taxing on your liver and kidneys and may increase risk for osteoporosis. There are no long-term studies to show that this diet works or is indeed safe.2. The Zone Diet (Barry Sears, Ph.D.)Premise: To enter “the zone” according to Barry Sears (1995), you need to eat the proper quantities of food, in the proper “macronutrient blocks” at prescribed times. Meals should contain 40 percent calories from carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. A sample meal may be 2 cups of pasta, a 3-ounce steak, and a small handful of nuts.Facts: Although not as restrictive as other high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, the typical zone diet contains less than 1,000 calories, which may result in muscle mass loss and vitamin and mineral deficiency. Also, the Zone diet has not been validated scientifically. There’s no scientific evidence for eating set combinations of foods at set times.3. Eat Right 4 Your Type (Dr. Peter D’Adamo)Premise: The author claims that each blood type has its own unique antigen marker that reacts in negative ways with certain foods, and individuals have varying levels of stomach acidity and digestive enzymes that seem to correlate with blood type. This diet provides a detailed list of foods to eat or avoid, depending on your blood type.Facts: Although it may be comforting to have a list of foods to eat or avoid, there’s no scientific evidence that diets should be based on blood type.4. Sugar Busters (H. Leighton Steward and associates)Premise: The Sugar Busters diet focuses on cutting refined and processed forms of sugar from the diet. This includes: potatoes, white rice, corn, white bread, beets, carrots, sugar, honey, corn syrup and foods containing them. The authors claim that sugar is toxic to the body, causing the body to release insulin and store excess sugar as body fat.Facts: Long-term effects of high-protein, high-fat intake may include kidney and liver damage, heart disease and cancer. Sugar Busters is supported by testimonials and anecdotal claims. Its validity is based on opinions, not proven facts.5. The South Beach Diet (Arthur Agatston, M.D.)Premise: A three phase diet: During Phase 1, the goal is to “begin reversing your body’s likely inability to process sugars and starches properly, the condition at the root of most weight problems”-thus no carbohydrates are eaten except for vegetables and salads for 2 weeks. Phase 2, reintroduces lower glycemic index carbohydrate foods, such as fresh fruit, couscous, high fiber cereal, whole grain bread, and winter squash. Phase 3 is eating for maintenance once the goal weight is reached, there are no food lists to choose from, “if you want it, …go ahead and enjoy.” “If you overindulge…switch back to Phase 1 for a week or two,” then return to Phase 3 once the goal weight is achieved again.Facts: The South Beach Diet promotes yo-yo dieting, which has been linked to suppressed immunity and a slower metabolism. In addition, it relies heavily on the glycemic index (GI) premise, which is a numerical system of measuring how fast 50 grams of carbohydrate from specific foods triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar – the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. The glycemic index doesn’t take into account typical portion sizes of food, e.g., 50 grams of carbohydrate from carrots would equate to eating 7 medium carrots. Bottom Line: The existing long-term studies comparing high and low-GI diets do not show any significant differences in weight loss. Diet Research Summary Update: The Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII) 1994-1996 data were used to examine the relationship between popular diets and diet quality as measured by the healthy eating index (HEI), consumption patterns, and body mass index (BMI). The HEI is a 10 component index; the first 5 components are based on the 5 major food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid-grains, vegetables, fruits, meat and meat alternatives, and milk. Components 6 through 10 of HEI are based on aspects of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines-total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and variety. The diet quality as measured by the HEI was highest for the high carbohydrate groups and lowest for the low carbohydrate groups. The BMIs were significantly lower for men and women on the high carbohydrate diet; the highest BMIs were noted for those on a low carbohydrate diet (J Am Diet Assoc. 2001; 101:411-420). Review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of diet composition. Energy restriction is the key variable associated with weight reduction in the short term. Quick weight loss diets usually overemphasize one particular food or type of food. They violate the first principle of good nutrition: Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. If you are able to stay on a fad diet more than a few weeks, you may develop nutritional deficiencies, because no one type of food has all the nutrients you need for good health.How to be LEAN and HEALTHY: 1. Every meal and snack you eat, have a balance of macronutrients- protein, carbohydrate, and fat to provide sustainable energy. Aim for ~50% of calories from carbohydrate (choose whole grains, fruit, and green leafy vegetables most often); ~20% to 25% from protein; 25% to 30% from fat (<7% fat =" LOW-FAT." 3 =" 15," 180 =" LOW-FAT.">5 grams dietary fiber cereal with the shake for even more sustainable energy. Make this shake the night before, keep it in the blender and store it in the refrigerator. The next morning, just press whip, and you’ve got a quick and easy “on-the-go” energizer.Serving size: 1.5 cups, Total servings: ~4Nutrition Analysis per serving: 27 grams Carbohydrates, 10 grams Protein, 5 grams FatReferences: Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2003 (vol.22 #1, 9-17), 2000 (vol.19 #5, 578-590).Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 2001 (vol.101 #4), January 2000 (vol.100#1).Nutrition Review, July 2002 (vol.60, 189-200).Time Magazine, Oct. 20, 2003, p. 50.Today’s Dietitian, Oct. 2003, p. 31.


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